UC Berkeley sophomore elected to Undergraduate Senate after controversial write-in campaign

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UC Berkeley sophomore Tre Kotter was elected to the Undergraduate Senate following a last-minute write-in campaign to put his name on the ballot.

Exceptionally low voter turnout was a contributing factor to this year’s results. Recent changes to election protocol sent an individual electronic ballot to each eligible undergraduate voter. Many undergraduates were unaware of these changes and missed out on the opportunity to vote.

“I get like 20,000 emails a day,” said undergraduate Karey Lest ’21. “I don’t get why they thought I would have seen it.”

Lest was not the only one unaware of these changes to the election, which saw an all-time low voter turnout of around 2%, down from the historic high of 8% the year prior. The low turnout helped Kotter get elected to the 15th and final spot of the Senate with eight votes, the lowest threshold of an elected official in the Undergraduate Senate’s history.

“I was in disbelief when I saw the results,” Kotter said. “When I got into [Berkeley], I just had this urge to start beating Stanford at everything. And now I beat them at their own elections. It’s an amazing feeling.”

In response to the election, the current Undergraduate Senate is scrambling to nullify the results. There is currently a bill on the docket for next Tuesday’s meeting establishing emergency powers of the elections commission. The bill would allow the commission to reduce the number of senators to 10, and forbid write-in votes to count without prior verification that the candidate is a Stanford undergraduate.

“Personally, I think it’s ridiculous,” Kotter said. “I mean, if they can’t beat a Cal student, they don’t deserve to be in power.”

This is the second time in recent memory the election’s commission has had to step in to nullify election results. In 2016, Emperor Palpatine also won enough votes to garner a seat on the council, but was later nullified due to a lightsaber battle in the main quad, where Palpatine was slain.

Anita Meswichu ’20, the Stanford student who spearheaded the write-in campaign, was appalled by the Senate’s response to the results, calling it “an overreaction to a legitimate campaign.”

“I just don’t get it, this is what the voters wanted,” Meswichu said. “I think most of the students respected the Undergraduate Senate before, but it’s hard to see how they will after this.”

Meswichu also did not rule out filing a constitutional case against the Senate over what she calls “corruption in election procedures” — a tactic often used as a last resort against the Senate to arbitrate cases where the Senate appears to break rules outlined in its own constitution.

Meswichu is considering this tactic as a safer alternative to the other common arbitration methods set forth by the Senate’s constitution, such as Trial by Combat, the same method Palpatine used two years earlier.

“Sure, I want to create a UC Berkeley: Stanford Campus,” said Meswichu. “But I don’t want anyone to die until we’ve exhausted all of our options.”

At the time of writing Meswichu was also researching “really really buff dudes” on Craigslist.

Editor’s Note: This article is purely satirical and fictitious. All attributions in this article are not genuine and this story should be read in the context of pure entertainment only.

Contact John Coffey at jcoffey2 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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