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Morgann Kelly elected USG Tempe President after ASASU Supreme Court reversal

After review from the ASASU Supreme Court, the results of the USGT executive ticket election were overturned due to an error with ranked choice voting

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The USG Tempe executive election was reversed in favor of Morgann Kelly Wednesday, April 5, 2023.

Morgann Kelly will be the next president of Undergraduate Student Government Tempe after the Associated Students of ASU Supreme Court ruled in her favor to reevaluate how votes were counted after Jack Nethers was disqualified

When election results were released Monday, Hannah Berryman was named the winner of the election with 52.49% of the vote compared to Kelly's 47.50%. 

Kelly went to the ASASU Supreme Court and argued the implementation of ranked choice voting was misused. Ranked choice voting is only to be used by the elections commission when a candidate has not received at least 50% of the vote after the removal of the disqualified candidate – which Kelly did according to the court document

With the disqualification of the Nethers ticket, Kelly had 66.52% of the almost 2,500 votes, and Berryman had 33.48%. The court ruled in favor of Kelly and said the elections commission incorrectly implemented ranked choice voting. The decision was officially signed by the ASASU Supreme Court at 1:05 a.m. on Wednesday, April 5.

"The disqualification of a candidate does not constitute grounds for implementation of next-preference choices," the written decision said. 

This is not the first time USGT has experienced issues with ranked choice voting. In the 2021 USGT election, the results were also reversed after ranked choice voting was incorrectly implemented, resulting in the wrong candidate being declared the winner of the executive ticket race. This is the second time results have been reversed since ranked choice voting for USG elections was implemented in 2021.  

In December 2021, USGT passed additional resolutions and amendments to the election code to prevent repeat mistakes. These included adding more polling places and adding a course on Canvas to educate and outline campaign rules to all candidates. In the 2022 elections, issues were avoided because executive tickets on every campus ran unopposed. 

READ MORE: To prevent past mistakes, student government is preparing for elections

Kelly will be joined by Harry Rodgers as vice president of services and Victoria Yuspova as vice president of policy for the 2023-24 school year. 

Neither the Kelly, Berryman and Nethers campaigns nor elections officials with ASASU responded to requests for comment at the time of publication. 

Edited by Shane Brennan, Reagan Priest, Caera Learmonth and Piper Hansen.

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