Berlin wins by landslide vote

Lake wins vice presidency


Photo by Jordyn Hronec

USG President-Elect Jake Berlin in disbelief following the release of the recent election results. Berlin will take over the role of the USG President beginning with the upcoming summer session.

Written By Dannys Marrero, For The Globe

On Friday, Michael Gieseke, Dean of Student Life emailed the student body the verified results of the United Student Government elections.

In the email, after stating that this was a record-breaking election for student-voter turnout, Gieseke announced that Jake Berlin, a junior mass communication major, received 408 votes defeating current Vice President Britany Arp, a sophomore political science and legal studies double major, who received 119 votes.

Unlike previous years where the voting period stretched out for an entire week, this year the voting period was only two days, taking place on Thursday, March 28, and Friday, March 29, following USG’s Meet Your Candidate event.

The decision to  hold voting until after USG’s Meet Your Candidate event was made due to constant concerns expressed at legislative body meetings by both senators and audience members, due to a lack of media coverage of the candidates.

After the voting period, a total of 540 votes were received with 527 votes casted for the presidential candidates, generating a voter turnout rate of over 13 percent; a dramatic increase from past voter turnout rates of under five percent.

The number of votes received totaled a 493 percent increase in voter turnout from last year’s election, where only 107 votes were cast for the presidential candidates out of the entire pool of eligible voters.

According to Article 1 Section 2 of the USG Constitution, an eligible voter is any undergraduate student who pays the student activities fee, regardless of their graduation date. This includes current seniors.

This election cycle also saw the formation of an Elections Board.

Montana Gabrielle, sophomore funeral services major, was one of the three members of the Elections Board.

By-law 501.1 calls for an elections board to be formed every year.

“In order to ensure impartiality during the election process, an independent Elections Board shall be formed to run polling stations and tally votes,” the by-law states. However, this by-law hasn’t been enforced in recent years.

“We had to step in this election cycle more than before,” Gabrielle said. “The Election Board hasn’t even been formed since they did away with paper ballots.”

Photo by Jordyn Hronec
President-Elect Jake Berlin and Vice President-Elect Alexa Lake pose for a photo following the release of the USG election results.

In a more closely contended Vice-Presidential race, Alexa Lake received 226 votes, winning over Sophie Burkholder and Hattie Charney, who received 208 votes and 51 votes respectively.

“Our votes were split by the last-minute write-in entry [Hattie Charney] to the race,” Lake said regarding the close margin results. “Ultimately, I had the best public outreach which likely pushed it over the edge.”

A few minutes before the results were revealed, both Berlin and Lake gathered in Village Park to await the elections results, surrounded by a group of approximately 20 people, consisting of both friends and supporters.

“Whether we won or lost, it was important to be with supporters for the news so we could embrace the results together,” Berlin said.

One of those supporters was Prim Green, Vice President of Point Park’s Black Student Union, who openly endorsed Berlin throughout the campaigning process.

“He does have some good ideas, and he has always been an involved student on campus,” Green said. “I do honestly believe [Point Park’s] administration will support Jake.”

In the senatorial elections, 14 out of the 30 seats were filled, with all five schools voting someone in to represent them.

The School of Arts & Science filled five out of its six available seats, the School of Business filled one, the School of Communication and the Conservatory of Performing Arts both filled two seats each and the School of Education filled three.

Even though the majority of the seats are open, more seats will be filled when the 2019-2020 school year begins with another election that will include the upcoming freshman class and anyone else that wants to serve the student body but did not run in the most recent election.

“I would like for this fall’s election to be open to all students,” Berlin said.