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the DP-hosted UA Presidential and Vice Presidential Debate Credit: Alexandra Fleischman

Wharton and Engineering junior Tyler Ernst was elected the 2011-2012 Undergraduate Assembly president on Friday night.

The Nominations and Elections Committee reported an overall voter turnout rate of 44.38 percent — or 3,286 voters from 7,444 eligible voters.

Ernst said he “feels wonderful,” adding that he “had a consistent message from the beginning and it has an appeal to Penn students.”

Ernst’s running mate, Wharton junior Faye Cheng, was elected UA vice president.

“We’re happy we have the validation to represent [the student body],” Ernst said.

College junior Cornelius Range, who lost the presidential race to Ernst — garnering almost 50 percent of Ernst’s total votes — said he was not disappointed.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity,” he said.

Range founded the H.N.L. party, which stands for both the Latin phrase “Hinc Nova Lex” — meaning “from this place there is new law,” as well as “Hole Nutha Level,” taken from a Mad TV skit.

The H.N.L. platform was based on the hope of making student government more inclusive and more representative of the student body, Range said.

Including Range, nine candidates ran on the H.N.L. platform, of which two — College freshman Chris Range and College sophomore Michael Rivera — were elected to the UA.

Although Range said, “It just wasn’t meant to be,” in regards to his own candidacy, he added that he is “very proud of all the people that ran on the H.N.L. platform.”

Range explained that he wished he had focused more on getting potential voters involved instead of solely focusing on getting students to run as candidates.

This year’s overall voter turnout represented a 5-percent decrease from last year’s overall voter turnout rate of 49.03 percent.

Despite this, College junior and NEC Vice Chairman for Elections Ben Kruger said he was “happy” with the figure.

There were “a lot of substantive campaigns and some interesting strategies by candidates we haven’t seen before, which is always good,” he said.

“We focused our efforts on making sure the voters were educated this year,” Kruger added.

Yet, some students reported that they only voted for candidates whom they knew personally.

College freshman Kenya Anderson said, “Since [my friends] were yelling at me to vote, it gave me an incentive.”

Wharton freshman Jamie Kent agreed.

“I was voting for my friends,” Kent said, adding that she was not aware of the issues candidates were running on.

“The elections rely too heavily on how many posters you have and how many friends you have,” she added.

However, some students who voted were knowledgeable about the candidates and their platforms.

College sophomore Lisa Doi said, “I read [the DP candidate spread] and I had talked to people about the debates.”

“I don’t remember voting last year but I think moving from a freshman to a sophomore, I have a better grasp of what the UA does and what it stands for,” she added.

Engineering junior Aditya Khosla said he voted for the same candidates he voted for last year, citing their past projects affecting his life as a student.

“I think people would vote more if they saw how student government was affecting them,” he said.

“I definitely think the UA does stuff but to be able to see the change they do on campus is sometimes hard,” Khosla added.

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