Four representatives won seats on the Undergraduate Assembly in Monday’s special election.
The election was held to fill four seats made vacant when elected UA members stepped down from their roles, College sophomore and Nominations and Elections Committee Vice Chair of Elections Mohammad Abunimeh said.
College sophomore Cody Eskandarian was elected to be a College representative with 108 votes, and College junior Asaad Manzar was elected to be a College representative with 104 votes. Engineering and Wharton sophomore Toyosi Abu and Engineering sophomore Simone Kwee were elected Engineering representatives with 13 and 11 votes, respectively.
The UA previously held its general election in April, when the entire body was up for election. College senior Tori Borlase and College and Wharton senior Janice Owusu were elected President and Vice President, respectively. The UA also consists of elected representatives from each of the four undergraduate schools.
This special election led to questions about voter eligibility, College senior and NEC Chair Zarina Iman said. First years, who are represented by New Student Representatives on the UA, cannot vote in special elections, but there is not a rule defining whether new transfer students can vote. Iman said that after consulting the UA and the Office of Student Affairs, the NEC decided to allow new transfer students to vote in this election.
"It's kind of like a gray area with [new transfer students] and the voting population for the special elections aren't really clearly defined, so it's one of those discretionary decisions, and there wasn't really any precedent set in the past," Iman said.
Special elections have been held consistently over the past several years, typically to replace UA members who have resigned. Two years ago, the UA saw six members resign mid-term, which UA members said was more than usual.
Turnout for this election was higher than in previous special elections as the NEC has historically struggled to attract voters. Last year, the NEC held three special elections in which fewer than 25 students voted. In a 2020 Nursing special election, just 17 students voted.
Abunimeh, who is also a Daily Pennsylvanian staffer, said that the NEC promoted this special election on social media more than for past elections. He added that the NEC also posted flyers encouraging students to vote.
“The NEC is always happy to make sure that we have free and fair elections, and are happy that this special election was successful,” Abunimeh said.
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