If write-in votes determined the outcome of the Undergraduate Council election, Pforzheimer House resident Nathan Shenk-Boright ’03 would be the next council president.

With a total of seven votes from his blockmates, Shenk-Boright topped Homer Simpson and Alf, “the cat-loving alien” for the most write-in votes.

“My blockmates said I’d be a good administrator and I’m well liked by the student body,” Shenk-Boright joked.

Shenk-Boright said that he cast his votes for Paul A. Gusmorino ’02 and Sujean S. Lee ’03, who won last week’s election for council president and vice-president respectively.

Former Hillel Chair Michael D. Rosenberg ’02 got four votes for vice president and a similar number for president. A similar write-in campaign catapulted Rosenberg onto the council earlier this fall as a Cabot House representative. He was expelled after missing all but one meeting.

Homer Simpson–best known for his role in Fox’s cartoon series–received write-in votes for both the council presidency and vice presidency. In addition to Homer, Simpsons characters “Dick Butkis,” Waylon Smithers, Montgomery Burns and “the comic store guy” also got votes.

Of the 6,122 ballots cast last week, nearly 100 were write-in votes. The council’s unique voting system allowed voters to support a write-in candidate without compromising their favorite candidate.

Using the council’s single transferable vote (STV) system, voters have the opportunity to rank each of the candidates. In each round, the lowest-ranking candidate is eliminated, and votes for that candidate are redistributed to the voters’ second choices. This is repeated until one candidate receives a majority.

The strength of this system, council members say, is that it allows people to cast write-in votes without “wasting” their votes.

After eliminating write-in votes in the first round of voting early Saturday morning, most of the 45 write-in votes in the presidential race went to Gusmorino, who picked up 13, and Stephen N. Smith ’02, who picked up 10. In the vice-presidential race, most of the 52 write-in votes went to Lee after the first round.

Perhaps the most confusing votes, election officials said, were the handful of votes that went to “no one.”

“I don’t know if ‘no one,’ ‘who cares,’ and ‘nobody’ are the same person,” joked Jared S. Morgenstern ’02, the council’s technology coordinator, who tallied the votes early Saturday morning.

Three men who are soon to be freed of their previous obligations of high office also received votes. President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore ’69 and Harvard President Neil L. Rudenstine all got one vote for the council presidency.

Similarly, Todd E. Plants ’01, Benjamin M. Wikler ’03 and Benjamin Dreyfus ’01–all candidates for the council presidency or vice presidency last year–received votes in this year’s election.

Harvard celebrities John Harvard, Ann Radcliffe, Shuttlegirl, Jonathan Taylor Thomas ’04 and Natalie Portman ’03 also got write-in votes.

Gusmorino and Lee also successfully defeated “Devil’s Beastchild,” Mickey Mouse, Santa Claus, Karl Marx, James Joyce, Britney Spears, Mr. Rogers, Red Sox player Nomar Garciaparra, “Gonzo, the chicken-loving vaguely humanoid puppet” and “Alf, the cat-loving alien.”

Perhaps the most political vote, though, came in the vice presidential race, where one person voted for “Abolish the U.C.”

Source: www.thecrimson.com

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