Student Government elections: Michael Cairo wins presidency, official results still pending

Unofficial winners named over weekend


Courtesy of CairoWalters16 Facebook page.

Gregory Cox, Managing Editor

Left in the dark since Thursday, the candidates from this year’s student government spring elections can breathe a sigh of relief.

The unofficial results, released Saturday, named Michael Cairo and Juliana Walters the winners of the presidential race. They bested current student body president Kathryn Edmunds and running mate Clayton Sims by three percent.

Hamilton Braxton Ezell IV won the Boca Raton governor race raking in 47 percent of the vote, followed by Jorge Jraissati with 26 percent. Selene C. Vazquez won the Jupiter governor race, as the only candidate for that campus. No one ran for Broward governor.

blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”>

Salena C. Vazquez took the Jupiter governor race. There were no governor candidates for the Broward campus @SGatFAU

— Gregory Cox (@gregcox92) February 27, 2016


Walters was first to leak the results on Saturday when she posted the presidential winners on Instagram.

Courtesy of Juliana Walters Instagram page.
Courtesy of Juliana Walters Instagram page.

This came less than 24 hours after the student senate requested the release of the unofficial results by Monday.

Gregory Barber, head of the elections board, planned to postpone releasing the results until all contestations — or complaints submitted against the candidates for breaking campaigning rules — were heard.

The unofficial results are supposed to be released prior to hearing any contestations, according to student government statutes. Ryan Klimar, marketing director for the elections board, says there are 31 contestations in total.

Prior to releasing the results, the elections board sorted through about half the contestations on Thursday, most of which were for improper poster placement, or lack of approval on the posters.

All campaign materials need to be accepted and sign off by administrators. Each major violation can warrant disqualification from the race, or a loss of votes depending on the severity. Three minor violations add up to a major.

The Edmunds and Sims ticket had 17 contestations filed against them. The elections board ruled that there were 11 major and seven minor violations, so far.

There are also five contestations against Cairo and Walters that are yet to be decided on by the elections board.

Amanda Cacapava, the president’s chief of staff, filed a complaint against Ezell, but it was dismissed due to lack of evidence.

The next meeting to address the remaining contestants will be on Tuesday at 4 p.m.

The candidates weren’t the only ones accused of not following the rules however. So far, two separate complaints have been filed to the student government court against the elections board for failing to perform their duties.

The first came from Carter Lewis — the former head of elections — who petitioned to remove Gregory Barber — the current chair of elections. Lewis argued that Barber failed to hold public meetings, and failed to hire Broward and Jupiter elections commissioners to run the elections on the other campuses.

Barber admitted responsibility, but argued that he held internal meetings with the marketing director and Boca Raton campus commissioner.

The meetings violated Florida Sunshine State Law, which require all government agencies to take meeting minutes and post public notice 24 hours in advance. The elections board failed to do either.

Because there is no record of the meetings, the court is waiting for additional evidence before they make a ruling. If the board sees that Barber didn’t fulfill his duties, and it affected the outcome of the election, an additional election may ensue.

Boca campus governor Chris Ferreira also submitted a petition for removal against the Boca Raton elections commissioner Michael Wilner for failing to provide written or oral reports to the House of Representatives, which is one his duties.

“I accept responsibility to these charges,” Wilner said in his defense. “However, as I am a newly transfer student to the university, and as I am newly appointed to the position of elections commissioner, I am not fully aware of all the elections statutes.”

This defense didn’t stick.

“I believe that being a transfer student and being new to the job, doesn’t warrant not being aware of what he needs to know,” said Seamus Maloney, the Boca Raton associate justice. “It’s his responsibility to go and research and make sure he knows his duties.”

The court recommended the removal of Wilner to the senate, who will vote next month to make the decision final.

Gregory Cox is the managing editor of the University Press. If you would like to contact him regarding this or other stories, he can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter.