The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday December 9th

Write-ins add drama to races

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When it comes to choosing their representatives in student government, UNC students like to think outside the box.

In Tuesday’s campus elections, students had the option to write in names if they did not wish to vote for candidates listed on the ballot.

“I don’t know who Joe Chapman is, but his beard got quite a few write-ins, which I think is a mystery,” said Shruthi Sundaram, chairwoman of the Board of Elections.

Chapman is diversions editor of The Daily Tar Heel.

Write-ins for Student Congress seats included “Bond, James Bond,” “Fried Chicken ’n’ Kool-Aid” and Barney Stinson, a character on the sitcom “How I Met Your Mother.”

District 7, designated for off-campus, non-Greek undergraduates, had the most write-ins. Ten Student Congress seats are included in District 7, and two of those elected ran as write-ins.

“I originally thought I wouldn’t have enough time,” said Austin Gilmore, president of Young Democrats and one of the two write-ins elected in District 7.

About 6.3 percent of voters opted to write in an unlisted name for student body president. Last year, write-ins accounted for only 4.3 percent of those votes.

There were not enough candidates running on the ballot in several Student Congress districts, Sundaram said.

“They only have to get 20 signatures,” Sundaram said. “It’s not that many. I wouldn’t think that’s a deterrent.”

Sundaram said there are no real rules regarding what write-in candidates can and cannot do during the campaigning period.

But they don’t get the privileges that candidates on the ballot get, like dormstorming or campaigning in the Pit.

Brian Min, who failed to get enough signatures to gain a spot on the student body president ballot, received 170 votes as a write-in candidate.

“I had to deal with the stigma against write-in candidates,” Min said. “I’ve been called a joke.”

Min said he was not given privileges candidates on the ballot were given, like dormstorming or campaigning in the Pit. He was also prevented from participating in certain debates.

Despite these difficulties, Min said he is glad he ran.

“One-hundred seventy people got on the website, saw the three options, realized they weren’t satisfied with the three options and typed in my name,” Min said.

“It’s just amazing that people did that for me.”

Other write-ins for student body president included “anyone else” and Beyonce’s baby.

The Residence Hall Association president election also saw votes for “the 11-year-old math student” and “I luh you, Black Falcon.”

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