Flores-McLeod Win U.C. Election

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Crimson News Staff

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Andrea R. Flores ’10 and Kia J. McLeod ’10 won the Undergraduate Council election last night by just 157 votes out of 3,425 cast in a race that featured increased turnout, rule violations, and comedy.

The UC Election Commission declared Flores, the first Latina president in UC history, the winner less than a day after suspending her campaign for forging a signature on a list of campaign staff members.

According to Election Commissioner Steven T. Cupps ’09, student voting rose to 3,642 students from 2,181 last year, when turnout was unusually low.

Flores and McLeod received nearly 41 percent of first-place votes, with 1,493, slightly over 39 per cent and 1,427 votes for rivals Benjamin P. Schwartz ’10 and Alnead D. Biggers ’10. After votes were redistributed according to the UC’s system, known as Hare-Clark, in which students cast single transferable votes, the Flores ticket had 1,791 votes compared to 1,634 for Schwartz.

While Schwartz and Biggers held a lead in Facebook group members, Flores and McLeod won crucial endorsements from student groups like the Harvard College Democrats and the Harvard Republican Club. The Dems have now endorsed the winning candidate for the sixth consecutive year.

The victory for Flores, the UC Finance Committee chair, ends a spell of winners from the UC’s advocacy wing, the Student Affairs Committee, on which Schwartz serves as a vice-chair.

Additionally, the road to electoral success has been difficult for UC presidential and vice-presidential candidates with male final club affiliations. Tickets boasting final club ties have had their ambitions dashed in each of the last five years, falling to opponents with no such affiliation. Throughout this campaign, Flores taunted Schwartz for his membership in the Fly, saying that he should open up final club space to all students if his plans for improving student space fall through.

Flores and McLeod campaigned under the banner of “Students Together,” promising to improve social events on and off campus and give undergraduates greater academic flexibility.

While Flores has served on the UC for five semesters, McLeod is a new representative and has been involved with student groups, including serving as the financial director for the Harvard Radcliffe Dramatic Club.

Schwartz campaigned on his ticket’s experience with both advocacy and student groups. Besides serving on SAC, Schwartz is also the vice-chair of the College Events Board, known for planning the recent Girl Talk concert, which was canceled shortly after it began. Biggers is the CEB secretary and the president of the Association of Black Harvard Women.

The race took a turn late last night when Flores' campaign was suspended for the rest of the electionwhich ended at noon todayfor forging a signature on its staff list. But the Flores campaign responded in a heated statement that the student whose signature was forged, Black Men’s Forum President Sangu J. Delle ’10, had given electronic permission for someone else to sign for him since he was out of the country and that this represented a "good faith" effort.

Though Schwartz had said yesterday that "all Harvard students should have the chance to recast their ballot with this new information," Schwartz campaign manager William V. Leiter ’10 said in a phone interview that the campaign would not pursue a revote.

Charles T. James ’09-’10 was the third UC representative to run for president. He and running mate Max H. Y. Wong ’10 campaigned to increase student service.

The two other losing tickets ran more on humor than ideas. The antics of Michael C. Koenigs ’09 and Aneliese K. Palmer ’12 included a mock assassination attempt at a UC debate. Roger G. Waite ’10 and Alexandra A. Petri ’10 put forward a satirical platform calling for the installation of a Hapsburg prince as UC president.

Staff writer Alex M. McLeese can be reached at amcleese@fas.harvard.edu.