According to unofficial results released Friday evening, Make Michigan’s Cooper Charlton, an LSA junior, and Steven Halperin, an LSA sophomore, narrowly secured the Central Student Government presidential and vice presidential seats by five votes, making this year’s race the closest student government election in the past decade.
Prior to this year’s election, the 2012 presidential and vice presidential elections had been the closest victory, according to election returns data from 2004 to 2015. In 2012, independent candidates Manish Parikh and Omar Hashwi beat youMICH’s Shreya Singh and Ethan Hahn by 146 votes.
This is also the first year that both major parties received more than 4,000 votes each, though Make Michigan came close last year when it secured the top two executive seats with 3,937 votes. In that year, Make Michigan beat forUM by 1,087 votes. During the last decade, the average difference in votes between the winning and second place ticket was 793.9 votes. Excluding this year’s margin, the average is 872.8 votes.
According to Law student John Lin, CSG’s student general counsel, including write-in candidates, about 22 percent of the student body voted in this year’s presidential election, a roughly 2 percent increase over last year’s student body voter turnout.
He said while this year’s election saw one of the highest voter turnouts, the 2013 presidential election saw the highest voter turnout, with about 24 percent of the student body voting in the election.
Lin said the higher voter turnout could be attributed to the parties’ intensified campaign tactics and efforts to reach out to many communities on campus. He also said having multiple parties contending for positions usually increases voter turnout, citing the 2013 election which saw students voting for four major parties, including forUM, youMICH, momentUM and an independent ticket.
Though Make Michigan received the most votes in this year’s election, Law student Paige Becker, the University’s elections director, said due to pending litigation against the party, the election results could flip in The Team’s favor.
The University Elections Committee is still ruling on five complaints, including three against The Team for harvesting e-mails and influencing voters while voting, and another against Make Michigan for violating e-mail regulations, which are assessed on a per e-mail recipient basis.
Becker said Make Michigan was accused of harvesting 5,719 e-mail addresses. If the party were found guilty of violating the CSG Compiled Code under this allegation, they would garner enough demerits to disqualify their party.
The next hearing will be Monday night. Then the UEC will have 36 hours to release an opinion, at which point the parties have an additional 24 hours to file an appeal to the Central Student Judiciary. Lin said assuming no complaints are dropped, election results will not be certified until Thursday morning at the earliest.
If Make Michigan is disqualified, this would not be the first time a winning party is unable to take office after being found to have violated election regulations.
In 2013 forUM’s Chris Osborn and Hayley Sakwa garnered 3,413 votes in the presidential and vice presidential elections, beating youMICH by 485 votes. However, the UEC later ruled that Osborn had influenced voters, thereby disqualifying the forUM executive ticket and allowing youMICH’s Michael Proppe, a current Business graduate student, and Bobby Dishell, current CSG president and Public Policy senior, to take office.
A previous version of this article misstated Michael Proppe’s party affiliation. It was youMICH, not Make Michigan.