New Horizons slate wins 2022 SGA elections by secret ballot vote in senate


Quillan Anderson

At the March 10 debate prior to elections, presidential candidate Rhea Tipnis (right) and executive vice presidential candidate Abigail Sodergren (left) presented their platform as the New Horizons slate.

Grace Comer, campus editor

Following an emergency secret ballot vote in the Student Government Association meeting Monday night, Rhea Tipnis and Abigail Sodergren of the New Horizons slate were elected as the newest student body president and executive vice president, respectively. 

While most Student Government Association, or SGA, positions are elected internally, the president and executive vice president are typically chosen by the entire student body, with each enrolled student given one vote through the Student Hub. According to the Direct Elections Manual, or DEM, a minimum of 20% of the student body must vote and the winning slate must achieve a majority, or over 50%, of these votes for an election to be valid. 

According to statistics presented at the March 28 full body meeting and later published on the SGA’s live vote counter, approximately 26% of the student body entered a non-abstention vote, clearing the 20% minimum. However, even excluding abstention votes, neither slate achieved the 50% majority vote required for victory, according to the slides presented at Monday’s meeting.

The Jorio-Chávez slate — consisting of presidential candidate Angelica Jorio, a second-year political science and economics combined major, and executive vice president candidate Sebastian Chávez, a third-year industrial engineering and political science double major — had a lead in the student body votes, obtaining 42.33% of the non-abstention votes. The New Horizons slate, with Tipnis, a third-year business administration major, and Sodergren, a second-year data science and business administration combined major, followed with 35.05% of the non-abstention votes, while 22.62% of students chose to vote no-confidence. 

Following the announcement of these results, the senate held a secret ballot vote in accordance with the DEM to determine the winner. The vote was administered by current SGA president and fourth-year criminal justice and political science combined major Casey Buttke, with all eligible senators casting a vote. 

The New Horizons slate was announced to be the winner from this vote, obtaining 56.3% of the votes from the senate

Candidates and campaign managers, as well as other senators and students, took to the floor in the open discussion and later posted on Reddit to share their frustrations with these results, with some referring to the process as “fundamentally undemocratic.” 

“By over 350-something votes, the student body has voted for Jorio-Chávez, and you guys overthrew that,” Jorio said in an address to the senate during the open discussion portion of the meeting. “You’re not here for your resume, you’re here to represent the student body and respectfully, tonight you failed that.”

The senate leadership may be looking to modify the DEM following this election cycle. 

There have been multiple situations throughout this election cycle that have brought up key flaws in our elections manual,” Buttke said at the senate meeting. “Whether things are omitted or interpreted differently, there have been a lot of problems that have been exposed.”

Editor’s note: Angelica Jorio, one of the presidential candidates for this year’s SGA elections, is the former design editor for The News.