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Election mishap leads to concession

By Samantha Lauring

Section: News

September 29, 2017

Agnes Nkansah is the new Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program (TYP) Senator after Stephanie Woodland was incorrectly named the winner of the position. Woodland received three votes and Agnes received three write-in votes, but Woodland decided to concede rather than having a tiebreaker election, according to Student Union President Jacob Edelman ’18.

Lian Chen ’18, Secretary of the Student Union, announced Woodland as the Senator to the Transitional Year Program in an email to the student body on Sept. 15. Woodland was the only name on the ballot for the position. To get on the ballot, candidates must attend the Fall Elections meeting or email the Union Secretary to hear the candidacy rules.

The election results showed Woodland with three votes. There were also four write-in votes, three of which were some variation of Agnes’ name — one for Agnes Nkansah and two for Agnes Nkan.

No variation of Agnes’ name was listed in the Brandeis student directory, stated Edelman, President. “We wrongly drew the conclusions that the write-ins were not purposefully made to elect a candidate.”

It is easier to distinguish legitimate write-in votes when there are a large amount of them, said Edelman. However, when there is a small number of write-ins it is harder to tell, so Union members will directly ask people if they are interested in the position. The Secretary of the Student Union who also serves as election commissioner judges whether misspellings on write-in votes are legitimate or not.

Woodland reached out to the Student Union and claimed that Nkansah had purposefully attempted a write-in effort and conceded the seat to Nkansah rather than holding another election in the event of a tie.

The Union is trying to contact Nkansah to confirm she wants the Senate seat, but has not yet been able to contact her. Union members have sent her messages on Facebook and are contacting the MKTYP to find the best way to reach her. It is unclear as to why Nkansah’s name is not listed in the student directory. Neither Stephanie nor Nkansah could be reached for comment.

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