SGA Runoff photo

The Unite executive ticket reacts to the announcement of their win against the Forward ticket during the 2020 SGA voting results in Tate Plaza on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2020. According to Attorney General Ethan Pender this runoff set another record for voting turnout at over 11,000 votes. (Photo/Caroline Barnes)

Unite has won the 2020 University of Georgia Student Government Association election.

The 33rd UGA SGA Executive Administration will be led by President-elect Asim Ahmed, Vice President-elect Cheryl Kwapong and Treasurer Carson Kuck. The trio ran on a platform of accountability, sustainability and visibility.

Unite finished the runoff election with 56.8% of the votes and 6,394 total votes. Forward finished with 43.2% of the votes and 4,864 total votes. Beyond, the third ticket, failed to make the runoff election.

“The rollercoaster ride that this is, this is more than SGA,” Ahmed said. “I think everyone here understands that. I think the voter turnout, you could tell that this was deeper than SGA. This is about what this university is, where we want it to go.”

A total of 11,258 votes were submitted for an executive ticket in the runoff election period, surpassing the general election’s 10,223 votes for the highest turnout in SGA history, said Ethan Pender, attorney general. Per fall 2019 enrollment numbers, 29% of the student body voted in the executive runoff election. Last year’s election brought in 6,772 ballots.

Dyer Whitehurst, Grace Green and Kristen Dunning made up Forward, the only 2020 executive ticket with no prior SGA experience. Forward ran on a platform of inclusion, sincerity and perspective.

“Frankly, I’m really glad about what has happened in the sense that more students voted than ever before. It’s a really reassuring thing to know the students want to be represented,” Jantz Womack, Forward’s primary liaison, said. “My hope for this administration is that they can do that, and they carry on the good things the past administration has done.”

The announcement of the runoff results was delayed due to a hearing held at 4 p.m. for a complaint Unite filed against Forward. The SGA Elections Committee did not find enough evidence to sanction Forward.

In the hearing, Unite claimed Greek Life members were trying to incentivize students to vote for Forward because certain Greek Life members sent messages saying sorority and fraternity members could not enter a social event between Phi Gamma Delta and Kappa Delta on Thursday night. Both Fiji and KD had endorsed Forward in the election.

The people who sent the messages were not listed on Forward or Unite staff rosters. Forward said it had no involvement with the messages.

In the general election, Unite achieved 4,653 votes and Forward earned 3,797 votes. A total of 10,223 votes were cast for the three executive tickets in the general election.

As stated in the SGA Elections Code, a runoff election occurs when no ticket receives an absolute majority of votes. In that case, the top two vote-getting tickets move to the runoff.

Current President Rachel Byers, Vice President Melissa Hevener and Treasurer Nav Singh will pass their executive offices to Ahmed, Kwapong and Kuck at 6 p.m. April 6 in the UGA Chapel.

“I have never been more proud of a staff and family, like this group of people and everything that this is is a result of everyone’s hard work. I don’t even know what to say,” Ahmed said.

Gabriela Miranda, Megan Mittelhammer and Spencer Donovan contributed to this article.

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