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Students elect Kristina Smith Duke Student Government president, Jake Hoberg executive vice president

Nearly two weeks after students voted, Duke Student Government's new leadership has been announced.

Junior Kristina Smith has been elected president of Duke Student Government, and sophomore Jake Hoberg will be the next executive vice president, confirmed Attorney General Shreya Bhatia. Presidential candidate Sabriyya Pate, a junior, finished second after four rounds of instant runoff voting. Two rounds were used in the EVP election.

"I am immensely grateful to be your next Duke Student Government president," Smith wrote in a post on Facebook. "I am honored to have the opportunity to represent our student body, to continue to bring your concerns to the administration and to make lasting, positive change for our school."

On Tuesday, the DSG Judiciary heard from Smith who appealed a decision by Bhatia and the Board of Elections to dock Smith 200 votes for violating an election rule that says that students cannot solicit votes "while possessing any laptop, tablet, or similar electronic device that can access the ballot."  

Based on this rule, the Board of Elections and Attorney General Shreya Bhatia, a sophomore, decided to dock Smith votes from the tally of voters who ranked her first because campaign members were playing music on an iPad outside Marketplace. The DSG Judiciary found that the rule—Section 6 of the Election Rules and Procedures 2017-2018—to be unconstitutional because it is "overly broad." However, it remanded the matter to Bhatia who had 168 hours to decide if Smith violated any other rules. 

Bhatia told the Judiciary Wednesday that she did not have additional evidence of a violation and also did not "believe it practical to attempt to find new or more evidence or witnesses after the event is over."

Last year, 1,948 students voted compared to this year's 2,432 students, an increase of approximately 25 percent.

The other four presidential candidates have expressed their congratulations to Smith in Facebook posts.

“My sincerest congratulations to my friend Kristina, our new DSG president. Kristina is a dedicated, deeply intelligent, and passionate member of the Duke community. I look forward to working with her next year,” wrote junior Sean Bissel.

Pate also indicated that she is looking forward to working with Smith in DSG in the coming year.

“Congratulations Kristina on your win, and to Yemi, Sean, and Jamal for running incredible campaigns. I look forward to seeing us all continue efforts to make this campus an equitable, inclusive, enriching, and empowering environment for all,” Pate wrote.


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