UPDATED: Friday, Nov. 21, 2014 at 4:12 a.m.
Ava Nasrollahzadeh ’16 and Dhruv P. Goyal ’16 have defeated three other tickets to win the Undergraduate Council presidential election in one of the closest finishes in several years.
Of the 3,348 total votes cast in the election—up 5 percent from last year’s tally—946 undergraduates cast first place votes for Nasrollahzadeh and Goyal, only 41 more votes than second place finishing ticket Happy Yang ’16 and Faith A. Jackson ’16.
Nasrollahzadeh and Goyal, both veteran UC representatives, ran on a platform that centered around four F’s: funding, food, freshmen, and fear of missing out. A centerpiece of their campaign was a plan to solicit donations from alumni to increase funding for student activities—an answer to the Council’s current leaders’ failed attempt to demand funding directly from the University.
“It’s a completely overwhelming feeling. We have very few words to describe the situation and the emotion that we feel right now,” Goyal said shortly after learning the results.
The pair ran an organized campaign with a following of about 20 official staffers, several hundred supporters, and a campaign website.
The two were notified of the election results shortly after 10 p.m. Thursday. UC Election Commission Chair Matthew C. Estes ’18 confirmed the results in an email to The Crimson Thursday afternoon under an agreement that the results would not be published until the candidates were notified.
“I am absolutely elated. I know how tough this competition was. These candidates this year were unbelievably talented, knowledgeable, and so gregarious,” Nasrollahzadeh said.
The race was the tightest in at least four years, Estes wrote.
The UC uses a Hare-Clark method to determine the winner, meaning voters rank preferred candidates, and their votes are redistributed in later rounds of tallying after other tickets are removed.
After the first round of calculating the winner, the 152 students who abstained from ranking a first choice preference were redistributed. Only about three hundred first place votes separated the Nasrollahzadeh-Goyal ticket in the first round from the last place ticket of Meghamsh Kanuparthy ’16 and Ema H. Horvath ’16.
Once votes for Kanuparthy and Horvath were reallocated, Nasrollahzadeh-Goyal led Yang-Jackson by about 40 votes, and Luke R. Heine ’17 and Stephen A. Turban ’17 by about 250 votes.
The final calculation came out favoring Nasrollahzadeh-Goyal over Yang-Jackson by about 70 votes, about 2 percent of the total voters, and marked an end to a crowded and close election.