The living room in Aiden Medellin’s house was very still.
Three of the four Elevate members gathered at the watch party were talking nervously, pondering whether or not they were able to pull it off.
Meanwhile, at the L.A. Pittenger Student Center, Julian Simmerman nervously waited for the phone call that would determine the slate’s status as the new SGA executive slate.
“All the effort we put in, you just really want to know,” Simmerman said.
Medellin’s phone rang shortly after the 5 p.m. deadline on March 19 when voting for the elections closed. Everyone sat upright for a moment and silence filled the room.
According to SGA elections board chair Sara Maier, these are the current percentages and number of votes each slate received:
Elevate: 52.52%, or 853 votes
Empower: 45.14%, or 733 votes
No confidence: 2.34%, or 38 votes
Total votes: 1,624
As Medellin was on the phone, a smile crept across his face and the rest of the slate started to relax, feeling relieved that the long campaign bore fruit after all.
After a month-long election season, four debates and two rounds of voting, Ball State's 2019 Student Government Association (SGA) election concluded with Elevate securing a majority of the vote in the runoff.
With 52.52 percent or 853 student votes, Elevate was declared the winner, defeating Empower which secured 45.14 percent or 733 student votes. The no confidence option secured 2.34 percent or 38 student votes.
The second round of voting had a turnout of 7.42 percent or 1,624 students. This turnout is 3.72 percentage points or 814 votes lower than the first round of voting when there were three slates on the ballot.
Despite losing, Simmerman, former Empower presidential candidate, still had high spirits as he hugged and shook hands with his running mates.
“We’re not upset about the results,” he said. “We’re happy that it was a close race, we had some great competitors.”
Medellin, now SGA’s president-elect, said Empower had done a good job with the platform they put together.
“We had the more effective, more qualified and just more experienced teams,” he said. “We did exactly how I thought we would, we performed exactly how I thought we would and that’s why we got to the result that we did.”
He said communication with current SGA President Isaac Mitchell and the experience gained in the “real world” is what made him the most qualified candidate for president.
“We are going to do more than our platform points because that's what the student body deserves and that’s a promise I made to them as well,” Medellin said.
He said he hopes to expand the student government and said Empower was right in suggesting doing the same during its campaign. During debates, Empower often said that they wanted to make SGA more known throughout campus.
“I’m in leadership roles in nearly all of the organizations I’m a part of because that’s just the type of person I am,” Medellin said. “I’m always going to speak up for the people and I’m always going to want to work for the people.”
Elevate will be inaugurated as the SGA executive slate for the 2019-20 academic year 3:15 p.m. April 18 in Cardinal Hall B at the L.A. Pittenger Student Center.
At the presidential candidate debate on Feb. 20, Medellin asked Simmerman if he would promise to be a senator next year, which Simmerman said he would.
At the watch party, Simmerman said while this is his fourth year of college, he plans on taking a fifth and would love to be a senator as long as he doesn’t have a busy work schedule.
The election felt like “going down a roller coaster,” he said.
Simmerman said the election in the beginning was exciting since they were learning the ropes and having new experiences. He said when the runoff kicked in, it caused some fatigue.
“We’re not upset with the way it turned out, we’re happy that we made it this far and had a close race with Elevate,” Simmerman said. “I think everybody’s just kind of ready to go be a student again.”
Rohith Rao contributed to this story.
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