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Class of 2000 Elects Sandoval President

By Richard Li

After six rounds of preferential balloting in an election with a record-low turnout, Sandra C. Sandoval '00 emerged the winner in the election for freshman class president.

"I'm very honored to be chosen the president of such a diverse class," said Sandoval. "The capabilities of our class are overwhelming and I can't wait to get started."

The other freshman class officers are Vice President Danielle A. Hinton '00, Secretary Reshma Patil '00, Treasurer Shobha D. Williamson '00, Social Chairs Elsie Huang '00 and Aron K. Qasba '00, and Publicity Chairs Jesse K. Baker '00 and Stephanie E. Chen '00.

Pericles, the Athena-based electronic voting system, was used again this year for the presentation of candidate platforms and voting. As of Sunday, only three candidates did not submit their platforms.

Out of 1,069 eligible freshman voters, 297 voted, for a record-low turnout of less than 28 percent, significantly lower than last year's 36 percent turnout rate.

Turnout could have been worse

The low turnout was actually about what was expected given the record-low number of candidates, said Undergraduate Association Treasurer Russell S. Light '98, who ran the elections. Previous freshman elections had involved record-high numbers of candidates for each office.

Sandoval narrowly defeated Zhelinrentice L. Scott '00 for the majority vote and the victory after six rounds of preferential balloting, while Patil defeated Puja Gupta '00 after three rounds. Other close races included the one for treasurer, with Williamson claiming 52 percent of the vote and Gillian M. Deutch '00 claiming 48 percent.

The two candidates were separated by a margin of just nine votes.

Hinton captured 63 percent of the vote, and Huang and Qasba earned a decisive majority in the race for social chair. The publicity chair election was uncontested.

Freshmen unfamiliar with offices

Among freshmen, there seemed to be a consensus that the passive presentation of candidate platforms and an unfamiliarity with the candidates and the offices themselves contributed to the low voter turnout. Many commented that they did not vote because they did not know the candidates and were unfamiliar with the responsibilities of each office.

Candidates used posters, World Wide Web pages, word of the mouth, and handouts to make themselves known.

"There were relatively few campaign violations this year," Light said. "A few candidates received warnings but nothing more serious than that."