United Maryland candidate Alexandra DeBus will become the University of Maryland’s student body president for the 2023-2024 academic year after election results were released Wednesday – two weeks after voting ended and following a contentious appeals review period.
DeBus, a junior biochemistry major, defeated Aspire Maryland’s presidential candidate Scott Cronin by five percentage points in a close race for the position.
“I am so grateful to everybody that participated in the elections process, and I’m extremely proud of all the candidates who won their seats and everyone who went out for elections in general,” DeBus told The Diamondback. “I’m so excited to start making impactful change and uphold the promises and platform we have talked about in-depth throughout this election.”
Aspire Maryland nearly swept legislative seats, winning 38 seats as compared to United Maryland’s six.
Cronin, a junior government and politics major, was the only member of Aspire Maryland’s executive candidate slate to lose his seat.
“I’m just so proud of my team,” Cronin said in a statement to The Diamondback. “While I’m disappointed in the turnout, I’m just happy the vote count was finally released and that SGA is able to get back to work.”
[UMD SGA to investigate student body president on election interference claims]
Voting for Student Government Association elections closed on April 26. Results were delayed for two weeks while the organization’s elections commission and governance board reviewed violations and appeals.
This process included a petition presented to the governance board asking the board to reevaluate an earlier elections commission decision to not give violation points to Aspire Maryland for misreporting a table on its campaign finance report. The board upheld the commission’s decision.
During this delay, the SGA also voted to launch an ethics committee investigation into Ayelette Halbfinger, who served as student body president for the 2022-23 academic year, for allegedly convening a second, illegitimate governance board to rehear the table case.
Meghana Kotraiah, a junior government and politics and agricultural and resource economics major, was elected SGA executive vice president. Nitya Shah, junior government and politics major, will assume the position of vice president of financial affairs for the upcoming year. Both candidates ran on the Aspire Maryland ticket.
Halbfinger and Riya Singh, who served as the vice president of financial affairs this year, verified the election results “with objection,” according to official election documentation.
Results for the representatives can be found here.