Anticipation levels were high during the announcement of FAMU’s spring elections Tuesday night. The Set was packed with candidates and their campaign teams as they anxiously awaited the outcome of the elections.
Although the candidates and their campaign teams were working hard until the last minute, some students felt as though this year’s elections were not up to par compared to previous elections.
“This year elections were dismal,” said George Olokun, 22, a political science student from Atlanta. “There wasn’t enough effort from the candidates, and it displayed in the students’ morale.”
Ashleigh Foxworth, a sophomore psychology student from New Orleans said, “Students really didn’t have too much participation in this year election season. I’m more disappointed in the turn out than anything.”
Even with the smaller turnout than usual, excitement was still evident throughout the campaign teams. Students waited over an hour to hear their future leaders’ names to be called.
What seemed to be the main concern was if Cyrah Hawkins had enough votes to overthrow current SGA Vice President, Monique Gillum in this year’s race.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a runoff because Cyrah and Tallie are excellent candidates, but I expect Monique to win because she has the political background,” said Sierra Travis, 18, a political science student.
Travis, along with other students who anticipated a runoff, was proven wrong after the results were announced. At approximately 11 p.m., the Electoral Commission announced Gillum and James Bland as the next SGA president and vice president of FAMU.
“The student body has spoken,” Bland said. “I’m happy that it came out in Monique and my favor.”
He added that he was not surprised by the outcome.
“When they announced it, I didn’t even jump or shout. For me, God had already promised it, and I was just waiting for it to be,” Bland said.
Unlike the presidential and vice presidential race, the race for the position of Miss FAMU will undergo a runoff election between Sheerie Edwards and Ashley Johnson.
In response to her move to the runoff, Johnson said, “I’m so excited and very, very nervous.”
She said her campaign techniques added to her triumph.
“I took an interest in going to speak to students and getting to know them,” she said. “You can’t lead or be the face of people that you don’t know.”
Anquan Brown was another candidate who was pleased with the election results.
“I’m happy that students actually came out and voted and recognized being real with voting,” said Brown who along with Kennard Speed was elected to their positions.
Additionally, Nicole Jackson, a runoff candidate for queen of orange and green, shared similar excitement about moving on to the next level of elections.
“I’m very pleased to be in the run-offs,” she said. “I’m going to continue campaigning hard and hopefully I’ll be victorious, but I’m grateful to have made it this far.”
Another runoff candidate, Demetria Henderson, said, “I’m pleased with the results, and I’m happy to be in the runoffs.”
“Basically, I’m just trying to encourage people to vote again. People are most likely to vote the first time and not the second time.”
Sadly, as in all elections, not all candidates were victorious. ChantÃ© Sessomes, a candidate for junior attendant, failed to make it into the runoff. When asked about her feelings about the election, Sessomes replied, “I feel as though it was unfair,” she said. “There were several discrepancies within the election.
It was told to me throughout the whole day by several sophomores that my name was left off of some ballots. I called the electoral commissioner, but I was unable to reach him.” She continued, “So a lot of people went into the polls not knowing who they were voting for, and if they went into the polls then they wouldn’t have been able to vote for me if it was true that my name wasn’t on all the ballots.”
When asked if she would be appealing, she said, “I’d rather not say, but it’s not over. I’m still going to inquire because it just doesn’t add up.”
Many candidates had positive comments to make about their defeated opponents.
Bland said that he would like to tell his former opponents
“Good luck in your future endeavors and continue to let your light shine before man.”
All other candidates were either unavailable or declined to comment for various reasons including Hawkins who said he was in bed asleep and was waiting for the election results to be a surprise to him in the morning. Serge Miller and Whittney Mitchell contributed to this story.