A cheer rose in 350 Student Union on Thursday evening when the Student Association elections ended in a decisive victory for the VOICE Party, with all of its candidates dominating student ballots.
JoAnna Datz, the newly elected president, along with her vice president, Meghan McMonagle, earned 1,622 votes, beating the Blue Party candidates, Daniel Ovadia and Teresa Sprow, by 780 votes.
Sikander M. Khan became treasurer with 1,653 votes, dominating Blue Party candidate Jonathan Steffen by 929 votes.
VOICE Party candidates Kayla Williams (1534 votes), Juan E. Pereyra (1518 votes), Justin Neuwirt (1505 votes), and Joseph Belfon (1305 votes) were elected as the new SUNY delegates.
"I'm really, really excited," Datz said, as her supporters flocked around her. "I just want to thank so many people: thank our supporters, thank my party members, thank my wonderful boyfriend John, who has been there for our whole party. It's been incredible. I'm fairly speechless right now. This has just been a great year. And to have won so victoriously, I'm so excited….Thank you to everyone who came out and voted."
A tearful McMonagle shared the same sentiments, and she is thrilled that her entire party will remain together next year.
"We've spent the last three months working toward this, and it's a really scary thing to not only not get it, but to not be with your team," McMonagle said. "The whole team got it, and I couldn't be any happier right now."
Khan is already looking ahead, and he plans to immediately begin following through on his campaign promises.
"It's definitely time to deliver," Khan said. "Everything that we've promised, we'll start working on it by tomorrow. We've already started so many things; it's time to focus on what we have [promised] and to stand up for what we have told [the students]."
Nischal Vasant, the current SA president, is excited about the increased election turnout this year – 2,680 students showed up to the polls from Tuesday through Thursday, 480 more than last year's turnout.
Datz and McMonagle will be shadowing Vasant and current SA Vice President Shervin Stoney over the next month to get a taste of the responsibilities they will have to undertake next year.
"They've got their work cut out for them, but I think they have the experience to step up in the game," Vasant said. "I'm very confident in their abilities."
Blue Party presidential candidate Daniel Ovadia was composed despite his party's overwhelming loss, and he plans to remain involved in student government.
"We're really happy that we worked really hard," Ovadia said. "We're really happy [about] all those people who came out and supported us. We congratulate the VOICE Party and their candidates, and we hope that in the future, we can all talk about different ideas for SA, because that's what we were here for during the campaign, and that's what we want to be here for after the campaign."
Darwinson Valdez, the only independent candidate in this year's election, received 787 votes – slightly beating the Blue Party SUNY delegate candidates – but still trailing far behind the VOICE Party winners.
Despite his loss, Valdez asserted that his voice on campus will not be silenced.
"Even though I lost, I still feel proud of myself for my hard work during this election," Valdez said. "You know, things happen when you run independent, and at the end of the day, I've just got to move forward. I've still got to work hard to get the student voice out there, and just because they didn't choose me as a delegate doesn't mean I'm going to [keep] my voice quiet…. Look out for me. I'm still going to be around."