Vincent Cavataio elected SGA president, Bryant English vice president in 542-vote election

Shelby Township senior Vincent Cavataio was elected to be the next president of the Student Government Association with 58 percent of the total vote, with Jackson junior Bryant English as his vice president.

Voter turnout by year; percentage change •2008: 1,722; n/a •2009: 2,081; 20.8% increase •2010: 2,121; 1.9% increase •2011: 542; 74.4% decrease
Cavataio and English received 308 votes in the election, defeating Grand Blanc junior Robert Brooks and his vice presidential candidate Colleen McNeely, a Brighton sophomore. Brooks and McNeely received 228 votes.

“I’m very excited," English said. "This is one of my biggest endeavors on campus. I’m ready to work for the students.”

There were 542 total votes cast in the presidential race, including six votes for write-in candidates. There were 2,121 votes cast in the 2010 election, 2,081 votes in 2009 and 1,722 in 2008.

For the first time, this year's election was hosted on, the social networking platform established this semester for registered student organizations and other Office of Student Life purposes. In previous years, voting was held at

“The switch to OrgSync really limited participation," Cavataio said. "I definitely think that’s what happened.”

English called the voter turnout "unfortunate," and said he hopes the process will be looked at and improved by the 2012 election.

McNeely said although student apathy was a likely factor, she faults Student Life for implementing a new system for voting right before the SGA election.

"I think most of the blame can be put on this OrgSync system, because I don’t think student apathy could increase that much in a year," McNeely said. "I also don’t think a voter turnout this low can be representative of the student body’s actual opinion for either ticket."

Kristin O'Brien, SGA election director, said voter turnout has not been this low since voting was moved online. She also said the voting total was only 242 votes over the minimum for the election to count.

“In the election rules, it states we only need 300 votes for both tickets for the election to be valid," said O'Brien, a Freemont senior. “In the past, when we had paper ballots, we had around this number, which is why they set that minimum.”

Cavataio said he plans to start working on fulfilling the goals he campaigned on as soon as he is inaugurated. The by-invitation inauguration ceremony is 6 p.m. Monday in the Bovee University Center Gold Room.

“I need to work on appointing people to the positions that need to be appointed," Cavataio said. "I want to form a transition team for the unicameral government as soon as possible.” Election week All four candidates in the race said they thought the campaigns were respectful and amicable, with nobody resorting to backhanded methods or mudslinging.

“I’m glad that we had a clean campaign," McNeely said. "I’m glad that relations between the two tickets were respectful throughout. I think that makes the process less tumultuous for everyone involved."

Both Brooks and McNeely said they intend to remain involved in SGA next year.

“I think Vince is going to do a great job," Brooks said. "As the campaign showed, we had similar ideas, it’s just how they’re going to implement them."

All candidates for other SGA positions were uncontested. Port Huron junior Dan Wiley was elected treasurer and the eight candidates running for 23 vacant Senate seats were all elected after receiving at least 50 votes, the minimum to be elected.

The senators-elect are Saline junior Evan O'Reilly, Saint Johns junior Sabrina Hebeler, Flat Rock sophomore Brittany Santure, Alma sophomore Anna Dvorak, Sparta freshman Spencer McKellar, Prudenville junior Ian Moloney, Hemlock senior Brett Weiskirch and Grant junior Mara Kieren.


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