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Student body president election could result in runoff

Students will cast their votes today to elect the next student body president — but it’s likely that the University’s next student leader will not be known until next week.

If none of the five candidates captures a majority of the votes today, the race will move to a Feb. 19 runoff between the top two candidates.

Many student body president elections result in runoffs, said Shruthi Sundaram, chairwoman of the Board of Elections.

In the last five years, only the 2008 election did not result in a runoff, she said.

Sundaram said there is no correlation between voter turnout and runoff elections, adding that some years the number of students who vote in runoffs is more than students who voted in the first round.

The student body president candidates said they understand the odds of a runoff happening, but they are anticipating the results.

“With five candidates it would be very tough for anyone to win in the first round, but we’re going to work as hard as we can to win in the first round,” candidate Will Lindsey said.

Candidate Rob Jones said he doesn’t think in terms whether a runoff will result.

“I want to focus on how many people I can reach. The rest will take care of itself.”

Sundaram said the Board of Elections is working to make sure that the election moves as efficiently as possible.

The election site,, crashed during last year’s student body president election, and students were unable to vote during a short period of time due to the glitch.

Sundaram said the board has been conducting test elections on the server during the last week, and there have been no problems with the site so far.

And, after weeks of debating, talking to students and competing for endorsements, the five candidates will see their work put to the test also.

“I feel great,” Lindsey said. “We’re really excited going into the election and looking forward to getting the results.”

Candidate Kevin Claybren said looking back on the campaign, he is proud that the candidates talked about issues that haven’t been discussed before, such as sexual assault policy, and that they challenged each other to take positions on new topics.

Candidate Christy Lambden said he’s excited to find out the results of the race.

“I’m really proud of the campaign, and I’ve been really happy and humbled by the support I’ve received,” he said.

Hetali Lodaya, another candidate, said in light of a probable runoff the main goal is to use today to keep spreading the message of her platform.

“The students have been really great, and so many are open to having a conversation with you even if they don’t agree with your platform,” Lodaya said.

Jones said he was surprised by how many people have been positive toward him.

“People have come up and asked for more information,” he said.

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“It’s great when they encourage me and tell me I’m doing a good job.”

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