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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A Wednesday revote will decide Yell Leader elections

In light of the Senior Yell Leaders’ decision to scrap the SGA election results, a revote is planned for Wednesday starting at 6 a.m. and ending at 11:59 p.m.
Students will vote online at voteyell.tamu.edu, and results will be announced as early as Thursday evening, said MSC President Ryan Trantham, who was appointed as the special election commissioner for the revote process by Student Affairs director Rusty Thompson.
Drew McMillen, associate director of Recreational Sports, will serve as advisor. Trantham said he has worked with university staff members to establish revote regulations and was selected in part because of his lack of affiliation with any of the parties involved.
With such a short turnaround, candidates will have a special set of rules, including campaign restrictions and penalties assessed to vote totals for violations.
“There will be a modified campaign period beginning [Sunday night] after the candidates’ meeting until the end of election day on Wednesday,” Trantham said. “Essentially, candidates are confined to an electronic/social media campaign only. No sign holding, speaking engagements, distribution of physical campaign materials such as flyers or active solicitation of votes through any non-electronic media will be permitted.”
The decision to hold a revote follows an SGA Judicial Court appeal alleging the instant runoff voting system used during the original Feb. 19-20 election failed to account for all student votes. Only first-place ballots were counted in the original election, the appeal argued. A J-Court ruling on the appeal was delayed until Monday, though any possible recount was nullified by the Yell Leaders’ decision.
According to the Yell Leader Constitution, each student is entitled to three equally weighted votes for Senior Yell Leader and two for Junior Yell Leader, but Head Yell Leader Patrick McGinty said the SGA ballot was not clear about the number of votes that would be counted and asked students to rank up to 10 candidates in order of preference.
He, along with the other Senior Yell Leaders, decided another vote was the only way to ensure the proper methodology was used.
“I hoped there would be an easy fix, but because the ballots weren’t worded in line with our constitution, doing a recount would have required making assumptions about all 11,369 students that voted,” McGinty said. “We felt like we’d be jeopardizing the integrity of the organization and process if we did that.”
Trantham said the elections will be run according to the rules lined out in the Yell Leader Constitution and every effort will be made to respond to appeals in a timely manner.
“The voting count will not be conducted using an instant runoff vote or single transferrable vote procedure,” Trantham said. “Each student voting will be able to cast up to three equally-weighted votes for Senior Yell and two equally-weighted votes for Junior Yell. All votes will be tallied in one round and the candidates with the highest number of total votes — after assessing any penalties — will be declared winners of the election.”
McGinty said the separation from SGA was the only way to ensure an accurate representation of student body opinion.
“I talked to the election commissioner before we came out with our decision,” McGinty said. “I wanted to make sure we answered any questions or concerns she had before going public with [our decision]. The impression I got from our conversation is that she understood where we were coming from and wanted the best course of action.”
Douglas said the program SGA uses to count votes still uses the instant runoff system for tallying votes, and does not have the capability to count the votes according to the Yell Leader Constitution. Douglas said she respects the decision to separate and hopes all issues between the two parties can be solved in the near future.
“I haven’t talked to Yell yet about what we’ll do in the future, but senate is already passing a rule to fix the process,” Douglas said. “They’re looking to make it just a plurality vote, and once they fix that, hopefully we can deflect back to just having one election.”
McGinty said all of the candidates were in agreement that another election was the best solution for a proper result.
“We want to ensure the Yell Leaders next year are there for the right reason, because the students elected them,” McGinty said.

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