The Georgetown University Student Association Senate inaugurated a full class of senators tonight following the election last Thursday.
The voting participation rate this year was about 25 percent, with 1,946 undergraduates casting ballots. This is significantly higher than last year, almost doubling the number of students casting an electronic ballot. However, 200 of those votes were considered invalid in the at-large election, as they failed to properly rank the candidates.
Overall, 56 students competed for 27 spots in the senate. Write-in candidates filled the two seats that did not have declared candidates.
To determine the winners, the GUSA election commission uses an instant runoff system in which voters rank candidates in order of preference. The candidate who gets the least votes is eliminated in each round, and the loser’s votes are reassigned to the voters’ next choice.
The New South Hall race was the most heated, with 220 votes counted into the seventh round. The Village A E-H district, which cast 25 votes in the second round, had the least amount of interest.
The senate increased in size this year from 25 to 27 senators, after two at-large seats representing the entire student body were added in a legislative session in the beginning of the semester before campaigns began.
The bill expanding the senate was introduced by Adam Mortillaro (COL ’12), speaker of the senate, to the transition committee of the senate — an interim group that controls the legislature from the end of the spring semester until new senators are inaugurated in October.
“This was a change which originated within the executive because at the SAC fair … a number of people expressed interest in running for the senate,” Mortillaro said.
The modification was meant to open more positions for those hoping to get involved and passed overwhelmingly on the floor. It was the first expanision of the senate since it was downsized two years ago for lack of interest.
“We think that this was, in hindsight, a good move,” he said.