Chris Brown was elected undergraduate Young Trustee after a race against fellow seniors Ashley Alman and Gurdane Bhutani.
A total of 2,856 votes were counted in the Young Trustee election. Because no candidate received more than 50 percent of the total vote, an instant runoff vote between Brown and Bhutani determined the winner. Brown received a total of 1,519 votes, and Bhutani received 1,337 votes after the instant runoff.
“Technical difficulties” prompted an extension of the voting deadline by two hours, and a complaint brought to trial by the Duke Student Government Judiciary delayed the results announcement. The polls closed at midnight on Thursday, two hours after the projected closing time. The results were announced around 4:30 a.m. Friday. Alman and Brown were each docked 30 votes from their totals—reflected in the reported numbers—for violations in DSG campaigning policy based on the complaint filed by Bhutani.
“This opportunity truly means more than words can describe to be able to serve Duke actively for the next three years,” Brown said.
Brown, a member of The Chronicle’s independent editorial board, began serving on the Board’s Facilities and Environment Committee in May 2010. He served for two years before he was selected to serve on the Business and Finance Committee in Sept. 2012.
“I am excited that the student body has chosen its next Young Trustee, and I think Chris is going to do a great job,” said DSG President Alex Swain, a senior.
Bhutani received six endorsements, Brown received three, and Alman received one.
“I am incredibly thankful for the wonderful support that I have received during this process. It has been a truly humbling experience to get to work with so many wonderful people during this campaign,” Brown said. “I have the utmost respect for the other Young Trustee finalists and their many contributions to Duke.”
As Young Trustee, Brown will serve one year on the Board as a nonvoting member and two years as a voting member.
“I want to be the Young Trustee that communicates with the student body and the job starts now,” Brown said. “I have a lot of time between now and May 12, and I plan to utilize it to ensure I am the most prepared Young Trustee as possible.”
After the polls closed, the Duke Student Government Judiciary met to review a formal complaint filed by Bhutani.
The complaint requested that the Judiciary uphold a previous decision to dock 30 votes from Alman and Brown final totals. This complaint follows a prior complaint filed by Bhutani on Feb. 1 that requested the DSG Board of Elections take punitive actions against Alman and Brown’s campaigns, as they had violated policy when hanging banners in the East Campus Marketplace.
According to the complaint by Bhutani, “vote docking is necessary to provide a correction mechanism and provide restitution to candidates who may have suffered in the campaign due to the illegal actions of the other candidates.”
The BOE initially decided to dock Brown and Alman 30 votes each for their totals, but this decision was overturned following appeals from the two contestants. The BOE upheld their guilty findings but overturned the ruling to dock votes.
The Judiciary unanimously voted in favor of Bhutani’s request to ultimately dock 30 votes each from Alman and Brown.
“Honestly Chris Brown is one of my closest friends at Duke, and has been since I got here,” Alman said. “If I was going lose to anyone, I am glad it was him.” Bhutani could not be reached for comment in time for publication.
Correction: A previous version erroneously reported the total number of votes counted as 2,286 and that Brown received two endorsements. The Chronicle regrets the error.