Runoff election announced for Ball State's 2019 SGA election

<p>The three slates running in Ball State's 2019 Student Government Association (SGA) Election have made several promises to the students in the form of their platform points. SGA, whose purpose is to serve as a voice for the students to the university, has impacted Ball State through its legislation. &nbsp;<strong>Photos: Scott Fleener, DN; Graphic: Emily Wright, DN</strong></p>

The three slates running in Ball State's 2019 Student Government Association (SGA) Election have made several promises to the students in the form of their platform points. SGA, whose purpose is to serve as a voice for the students to the university, has impacted Ball State through its legislation.  Photos: Scott Fleener, DN; Graphic: Emily Wright, DN

According to SGA elections board chair Sara Maier, these are the current percentages and number of votes each slate received:

Elevate: 39.79%, or 970 votes

Empower: 36.59%, or 892 votes

United: 22.27%, or 543 votes

No confidence: 1.35%, or 33 votes

Total votes: 2,438

Editor's Note: Empower had a private, invite-only watch party to which The Daily News was not invited. We requested the permission of NewsLink Indiana to share their interview of Empower with us.

With voting come to an end and Ball State's 2019 Student Government Association (SGA) election results announced, no slate was able to gather a majority of the votes from Ball State students.

The two slates with the most votes— Elevate and Empower — will now go head to head in a runoff election that will last until March 19.

A runoff election is a second round of elections declared when no one slate manages to secure a majority or 51 percent of the votes. The additional All-Slate Debate and voting for the runoff election for the runoff election will only commence after classes resume following spring break.

Here's a schedule of the Ball State's 2019 SGA runoff election:

  • Feb. 26 — Runoff campaigns commence
    Slates can start campaigning as soon as the runoff election is announced at 5:20 p.m.
  • March 4-8 — Spring break
    The five-day spring break starts for Ball State students. University administrative offices will still remain open during this period.
  • March 11 — All-Slate Debate
    The second All-Slate Debate and fourth debate of this SGA election will be held 6 p.m. at the L. A. Pittenger Student Center ballroom.
  • March 18-19 — Voting for runoff election
    Voting for the runoff election will be available online starting 8 a.m. Monday and end 5 p.m. Tuesday.
  • March 19 — Winner announced
    The winning slate of Ball State's 2019 SGA runoff election will be announced 5:20 p.m. Tuesday after voting concludes and results are tallied.

The winning slate will be inaugurated 3:15 p.m. April 18 in Cardinal Hall B at the L.A. Pittenger Student Center.

(Left to Right) Nate Woods, Empower Treasuer candidate, Joel Johnson, Empower Vice Presidential candidate, Julian Simmerman, Empower Presidential candidate, and Erin Byrne, Empower Secretarial candidate, stand before the All-Slate Debate Feb. 18, 2019 in the L.A. Pittenger Student Center Ball Room. Simmerman and Woods are both members of Sigma Chi Fraternity. Scott Fleener, DN

According to an interview with NewsLink Indiana, Connor Sanburn, campaign manager of Empower, said the slate wasn’t entirely happy with the results, but is looking forward to the rest of the election.

“Frankly, I’m a little disappointed, but also very hopeful because that means we’re still in the game,” Sanburn said. “We’re excited for these next weeks to campaign again.”

Simmerman and Sanburn told The Daily News the slates’ watch party was private and invite-only. They wanted to share the news with Ball State as a team.

“We wanted to try and keep our election party as private as possible,” Sanburn said. “Honestly, we are homey people, we are very personal, we just wanted to keep this to ourselves.”

Sanburn said Empower wants to get more people to vote fin the runoff election, visit organizations it was unable to visit and increase its presence on social media. He said the slate will be working with all student media during the rest of the election.

“We’re happy to still be here. It’s much better to hear that than a [loss],” said Julian Simmerman, presidential candidate of Empower. “I’ve enjoyed campaigning. It’s been cool getting perspectives from every student.”

Simmerman said they’re going to relax for now but will “ramp” it up once spring break is over. He said his slate was glad to hear more people voted this year than last.

Nate Woods, treasurer candidate of Empower, said the slate was expecting a win, but the election “deserves” to be a runoff.

“I think that a lot of the concern was that we didn’t have the SGA experience and I think it makes a statement that we’re still one of the two left,” Woods said. “I think we’re feeling pretty confident.”

(Left to Right) Elevate's Cassidy Mattingly, secretarial candidate, Cameron DeBlasio, vice presidential candidate, Aiden Medellin, presidential candidate, and David Sinclair, treasurer candidate stand before the All-Slate Debate Feb. 18, 2019 in the L.A. Pittenger Student Center ballroom. Scott Fleener, DN 

Aiden Medellin, presidential candidate of Elevate, said the small advantage they hold in this election says a lot. He said Elevate can count on a lot of the votes that were for United to come back to his slate.

“I’ve been very confident in my slate and I think that’s why the percentage shows that we won the general election,” Medellin said.

Medellin said aside from “the one small misstep” Elevate has run “a clean campaign” and “the winning campaign” and that confidence was going to continue into the runoff election.

Cameron DeBlasio, vice presidential candidate of Elevate, said he wasn’t surprised with the results. He said while they’d have loved to win the election outright, it’s a good feeling that they are one of the two slates and gets to continue campaigning and spreading the message.

“I think our biggest strength was shown in the fact that we did get the most votes today,” DeBlasio said. “Our ability to have the kind of outreach that we did across campus — beginning 40 minutes after the Nomination Convention adjourned, being over in Bracken Library getting our message out the night of — I think we’re going to have the same mentality going forward.”

“Empower has a good base. They have a lot of people who I know are willing to vote for them because of their affiliation with Greek Life,” DeBlasio said. “They did a good job of having outreach on social media … that’s why I think it was as close as it was today.” 

DeBlsaio said Elevate has already called Jake Biller, presidential candidate of United, about potentially working with the slate.

“I think Elevate and United have very similar views in how we think SGA should be run,” DeBlasio said. “And so we look forward to having that discussion with them.”

Jake Biller, presidential candidate for the United slate, and Andy Hoffman, campaign manager for the United slate, listen to a speaker Feb. 12, 2019 during the Student Government Association nomination convention in the Arts and Journalism building. Scott Fleener, DN 

Biller thanked his campaign team, the Ball State community and everyone who voted for them and made their voices heard.

“When we started, as a person of faith, I felt that … God was really calling me into this and I said from the beginning that if I win we’ll praise him, and if we lose we’ll still praise him,” Biller said. “So, I just want to thank God for this opportunity.”

Biller said he wasn’t sure about his slate endorsing Empower or Elevate for the runoff election. He said United will release a statement later if the slate chooses to do so, after consulting with the rest of team.

Biller said he was disappointed since SGA was something he loved and was “very passionate about.”

“I would have loved the opportunity, obviously, to serve the student body as president, but it’s not on the cards,” Biller said. “So, I just take it on the chin and run with it.”

Mary Eber contributed to this story.

Contact Andrew Harp with comments at adharp@bsu.edu or on Twitter @adharp24. Contact Charles Melton with comments at cwmelton@bsu.edu or on Twitter @Cmelton144. Contact Rohith Rao with comments at rprao@bsu.edu or on Twitter @RaoReports.

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