After Chaos, UC Okays New Leaders

Harvard UC Votes to Re-Certify Election Results
Melody Y. Hu, Eric P. Newcomer, and Andrew J. Petschek


Four days after polls closed and controversy erupted over allegations of election fraud, the Undergraduate Council certified John F. Bowman ’11 and Eric N. Hysen ’11 as the Council’s President and Vice President yesterday in a 33-2-4 vote.

Only George J.J. Hayward ’11 and Felix M. Zhang ’11, who lost the election to Bowman-Hysen, voted against certifying the election results that would hand victory to their opponents.

For days following the abrupt decertification of the election results shortly before they were scheduled to be announced Thursday night, students struggled to understand the turmoil that had enveloped the process—dividing the UC’s Election Commission and prompting three members of the body to resign in protest of the decision.

The picture that has unfolded, after the remaining four EC members voted Sunday to de-classify their meetings, is of four Election Commissioners who worried that insecure election software might have compromised the vote tally.


At yesterday’s meeting, Assistant Dean for Student Life Susan B. Marine presented a statement from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Information Technology Information Security department that said there was “no evidence to suggest any form of suspicious activity” with the voting software.

At the end of the subsequent two-hour discussion, the vast majority of the Council expressed their desire “to move forward” and confirm the election of the next UC president.

“I’m so proud of the UC for...honoring what the student body wanted,” said outgoing UC President Andrea R. Flores ’10. “I’m very happy that I’m a lame duck.”

Neither Bowman-Hysen nor Hayward-Zhang received the majority of first place votes due to the presence of a third-party joke ticket headed by Robert G.B. Long ’11.

Following the Hare-Clark voting guidelines, when no candidates received the majority of first place votes, the ticket with the fewest votes was excluded from consideration, and the first place votes for that ticket were redistributed to the second-ranked candidates on those ballots. This process put Bowman-Hysen in the lead with 45 votes—the closest margin of victory in recent history—despite going into the first round with 31 fewer first place votes than Hayward-Zhang.

In a short statement after last night’s certification, Hayward and Zhang expressed their congratulations to the newly named leadership.

In a short statement after last night’s certification, Hayward and Zhang expressed their congratulations to the newly named leadership.

Acting Commission Chair Phillip Morris ’12, one of the original commissioners to express concerns Thursday night, said he disagreed with the decision to give the full Council power to certify the results because many UC members have pre-existing political allegiances.

“It’s almost like Congress deciding Gore vs. Bush,” he said.

But Morris said he was happy with the investigation. “I’m happy...we will leave no doubts in the minds of voters or the campaigns,” said Morris. “Had we certified on Thursday night, there definitely would have been doubts.”