This year’s Undergraduate Association Presidential/Vice Presidential election took a surprise turn late Sunday night, when UA VP candidate Johnathan Kongoletos ’14 emailed out to several dorm lists announcing his withdrawal from the UA VP candidacy at 11:21 p.m., under 10 hours before online voting opened at 9 a.m. yesterday morning. At that time and throughout the day, both of the tickets — Sidhanth P. Rao ’14/Devin T. Cornish ’14 and Cory D. Hernandez ’14/Johnathan Kongoletos ’14, for UA P/VP — still appeared on the ballot at vote.mit.edu.
“For those who know me well, they know that I am a person who always puts his best foot forward,” wrote Kongoletos. “The undergraduate population deserves the best effort from all elected officials. I believe that I will be unable to devote the time that the MIT community deserves of the UA VP.” He continued to assure voters that Hernandez was still running for UA president, and if he were to be elected, Kongoletos would “aid in the search” for a suitable vice president.
However, as of 9:30 p.m. last night, the Hernandez/Kongoletos ticket was removed from the ballot. The elections were reset for the UA P/VP race, and “no votes from the first P/VP race will be counted, so everyone must vote in this new race, regardless of previous voting,” according to an email sent to all undergraduates by UA Election Commission Chair Laura D. Royden ’13.
As a withdrawal this close to the opening of elections is unprecedented, “the UA Judicial Review Board and the Election Commission met at length to discuss this,” said Royden. While the UA Election Code does not explicitly state it, “JudBoard and the Election Commission decided that the Election Code clearly implies that someone cannot run for president without a vice president,” continued Royden. “The UA P/VP are only referred to as a joint ticket.” It was decided that without a vice presidential candidate, Hernandez could not run for president on his own ticket, and in the future, election codes might include terms on withdrawals.
The new UA P/VP ballot lists only the Rao/Cornish ticket and the usual write-in option. According to Royden, within an hour of resetting the UA P/VP election, over 500 undergraduates had already cast ballots.
This decision only affects the UA P/VP race — all Class Council races will proceed as normal.
Elections are online at vote.mit.edu, and polls will still close at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 22.