YCC Presidential election to go to runoff

A runoff election for Yale College Council President — between Leah Motzkin ’16 and Michael Herbert ’16 — will be held online from Tuesday to Wednesday, as none of the four candidates claimed a majority of votes in the race that ended Friday evening.

Although Herbert received 30.03 percent of the student body vote, the YCC Constitution states that a candidate with less than 40 percent of the vote must receive 10 percent more votes than the nearest candidate to be declared a winner. Motzkin received 28.37 percent of the vote, Sara Miller ’16 received 24.18 percent and Ben Ackerman ’16 received 17.42 percent. Maia Eliscovich Sigal ’16 was elected vice president out of three candidates.

Voter turnout this year was noticeably increased from last year. 2,647 students voted in this year’s presidential election — nearly 2,000 more than the 725 people who voted for YCC president last year.

“All four candidates were wonderful,” said Kyle Tramonte ’15, current vice president and chair of the YCC Elections Committee. He added that he looks forward to students being able to learn more about the two remaining candidates in the next five days.

Herbert said his total votes, 795, were fewer than he anticipated. Nevertheless, he said he is excited for the runoff and will look to further contrast his views and positions with those of Motzkin, who received 751 votes. He added that he is pleased with the support he has received and looks forward to engaging with the student body in the coming days.

Motzkin said she is honored to be moving forward in the election. She added that she is excited at the prospect of serving the student body as YCC president and that the runoff puts her one step closer to that role.

“The runoff was inevitable with so many candidates running, and especially with three YCC [members] splitting the vote,” Motzkin said.

She said her experience on YCC, her ability to engage with administrators and her commitment to representing a wide swath of the student body all set her apart from Herbert.

Herbert said the two main differences between him and Motzkin are his strong leadership abilities and  the specificity of his platform. Though he may not have served on YCC, he said, he has experience founding a fraternity and serving as vice president of the Saybrook College Council.

“There has been this fetish with YCC experience up to this point,” he said. “But if you look at my track record, you see leadership indicative of a firmer, better vision.”

Motzkin said she plans to spend the time before the runoff highlighting the reasons she would be best suited to the role of YCC president and encouraging students to vote again.

The other YCC executive board races were decided in Friday night’s results. Eliscovich Sigal defeated Allison Kolberg ’16 and Chris Moates ’16 for vice president with 52.52 percent of the vote. Connor Feeley ’16 was elected finance director, and Jaime Halberstam ’16 was elected events director, both in unopposed elections.

Eliscovich Sigal said she attributes the success of her landslide victory to her experience on YCC. She added that she hopes both other candidates will stay involved in student government next year.

She plans to remain neutral during the runoff and will work with the winner over the summer towards making reforms to shopping period and seminar registration, she added.

Miller said she will be supporting Herbert. Though he has not been a member of YCC, she said, he has demonstrated himself to be a competent leader on campus and she believes he has the capacity to work well with administrators.

On the other hand, Ackerman said that “given the current options,” he “reluctantly” supports Motzkin. But, he said, he trusts his supporters to weigh the field carefully and make a decision on their own.

In class council results, Thomas Rosenkranz ’17 edged out Sukriti Mohan ’17 by 43 votes to become the Sophomore Class Council President. In the Junior Class Council presidential race, Emily Van Alst ’16 won in an unopposed election.

Campus reactions to Friday’s results varied greatly. Alex Ratner ’15 said he is not particularly surprised that the presidential race is now in a run-off, since he felt the two remaining candidates had very strong platforms. Each of the candidates offered something unique, reasoned Smita Shukla ’15.

Zach Jacobs ’17 said he was disappointed that some of the YCC executive board positions were again uncontested races.

The runoff election will begin on Tuesday at 9 a.m. and end on Wednesday at 9 p.m.

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