The height of the Yale College Council elections has passed, but two candidates are still vying for the vice-presidential position.
In a close general election Friday evening, vice-presidential candidates Christopher Bowman ’18 and Kevin Sullivan ’18 garnered 33.21 and 28.49 percent of the vote, respectively. Although Bowman led by about 5 percentage points, the YCC constitution states that candidates can only win with less than 40 percent of the vote if they have at least a 10 percent lead over the next closest candidate. Because Bowman was only ahead by 5 percentage points, the vice-presidential election has proceeded into a runoff that opened Tuesday at 9 a.m. and will close at 9 p.m. tonight. As the runoff draws to a close, some former candidates have rallied behind each of the remaining competitors.
“We’re just trying to get every vote because every vote is important. Last time [the general election] was pretty tight, so I assume the runoff will be pretty tight as well,” Bowman said. “We’re trying to mobilize as many communities as we can get on this runoff, especially since it is not as much on the radar.”
Since the runoff’s announcement, both vice-presidential hopefuls have received endorsements from former candidates. Former YCC presidential candidate Josh Hochman ’18 said he has chosen to endorse Bowman, highlighting his past experience working with him on YCC projects such as the sophomore seminars project. Bowman worked with Hochman, who is this year’s YCC academics director, to push for expanded seminar access for sophomores, who do not currently have seminars earmarked especially for them. Bowman’s platform has similarities to his own, Hochman said, such as emphasizing outreach to undergraduate groups not on YCC through a liaison.
In the other camp, former YCC presidential candidate Sarah Armstrong ’18 — who received the biggest share of the votes in the presidential election after YCC president-elect Peter Huang ’18 — has formally endorsed Sullivan on the vice-presidential ticket. Former vice-presidential competitor Luis Patiño ’18 said he is supporting Sullivan as well. Patiño said that while he originally did not plan to endorse a candidate in the runoff, he realized his platform lined up with other candidates’ in many ways and it would still be possible to achieve some of the reforms he had pushed for in his own campaign.
“As a former vice-presidential candidate who just went through the stress of running a schoolwide campaign, I know what it’s like to be in the midst of this for a week, and for Kevin a week and a half now,” Patiño said. “Kevin has conducted himself very well and been classy and respectful throughout the whole process, which is very important to consider when electing a classwide representative.”
Patiño said he chose to endorse Sullivan because of Sullivan’s platform, the way he has conducted himself on YCC and his proposals for “empowering the student voice” in a way that is both practical and ambitious. Patiño added that he supports Sullivan’s willingness to take on big issues such as faculty diversity, LGBTQ resources and the student income contribution.
Other former candidates have chosen to remain publicly impartial. Both Huang and former presidential candidate Diksha Brahmbhatt ’18 said they will not be endorsing either competitor.
While most of the eight students interviewed said they did not know much about the election, some said they had already voted. Dhikshitha Balaji ’18 said she voted for the same candidate in both the original and the runoff elections, adding that she hopes to see a vice president who is more communicative with the student body.
Students such as Patiño and Jason Hu ’19 said they were surprised that there was a runoff for the vice presidency and not for the position of president, a race that included five candidates this year. The last time there was a runoff election for the presidential position was in 2014, when former YCC President Michael Herbert ’16 defeated Leah Motzkin ’16 by 104 votes. There were initially four candidates running for president that year.
“With five people running [for president], it would be a lot more natural to have a runoff,” said Hu, who voted in both vice-presidential elections. “Each candidate has to get such a large percentage of the vote.”
Clarification, April 20: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Bowman led by 5 percent. In fact, he led by 5 percentage points.