By Shaun Chornobroff and Amethyst Martinez
AFTER a two-day runoff and a difference of less than 10 votes, junior political science major Naa’san Carr was announced the winner of the closest Student Government Association (SGA) presidential election in recent memory on April 18.
In an interview with The Rider News immediately after his victory, Carr said the victory was “not just a great win for me, but for the community of Rider University.”
“This is different, this is change,” said Carr. “I think we need change here and hopefully this will be a step in the right direction to making our campus more diverse and more inclusive.”
SGA announced Carr’s victory in an email to students two hours after voting closed.
“Given the steps to ensure the runoff was secure, we are confident in our results,” the email read in part.
In an interview with The Rider News, current SGA President Andrew Bernstein said there were 283 votes cast during the runoff voting period from April 17 at 10 a.m. to April 18 at 4 p.m. Votes could be made both online and in person, but all were done through BroncNation.
Bernstein said SGA went through every vote and cross-referenced it with an eligible voter list.
The runoff between Carr and junior economics major Joe Tufo was determined to be required after the election was too close to be called on April 13. The candidates were seperated by a single vote, but due to SGA being unable to determine who 25 ineligible votes were cast for, an additional voting process became necessary.
“I know it was a long process for both of them, but I’m glad now that we can finalize things, be confident that everything is accounted for and that only people who are eligible to vote voted,” said Bernstein, a political science major.
Only full-time undergraduate students are permitted to vote in the election and all disqualified votes fell outside of those requirements.
The first race, which saw voting run from April 3-12, had 565 votes cast. All results were revealed at SGA’s weekly senate meeting on April 13, where Bernstein said both Carr and Tufo were told of the need for a runoff beforehand.
“It was a problem that we had anticipated and it’s something that we figured out through the system,” Bernstein said during the April 13 meeting held in the Rue Auditorium “This is something that we knew if it was possible, we would have to go through and audit and make sure that things were accurate.”
For Carr, the five days between the announcement of Rider’s first presidential runoff in decades and the April 18 email cementing his victory were spent in angst.
“It’s been stressful, sleepless nights. It’s been nerve-racking,” said Carr. “I didn’t know what was going to happen with this, but I had faith in our people who were running the election and we got things done.”
In his interview with The Rider News, Carr said it was a “good, healthy campaign” and was complimentary of his opponent, adding that he will ensure Tufo remains a part of SGA.
Throughout his campaign, Carr has touted himself as a vehicle for change at Rider, hoping to unify and represent a campus that prides itself on its diversity.
“I think the people have spoken and they want change,” said Carr. “There’s truth that we are making progress here at Rider University, to make the change for marginalized and underrepresented communities who are here at a [predominantly white institution].”