Stone ticket wins 2019 USG election

Trenton Stone (left) and Mahin Tahsin (right) won the USG presidential election Tuesday after entering the race as a write-in ticket. (Maansi Manchanda/Daily Trojan)

Trenton Stone and Mahin Tahsin won the 2019 Undergraduate Student Government election for president and vice president, respectively, beating out two other tickets after a contentious race.

The results of the election, along with the official voter turnout numbers, were announced at a USG meeting Tuesday. Stone and Tahsin ran against the Michaela & Meagan and the Maxwell & Grayson tickets.

The Trenton & Mahin ticket had 2,189 votes, the Michaela & Meagan ticket 1,807 votes, and the Maxwell  & Grayson ticket 554 votes. 267 students abstained.

“As write-ins, it was a huge time pressure,” Stone said. “Going into it, we were so confident that we’ve done the best work we can. I’m happy that it pulled off the way it did.” 

Stone, a sophomore majoring in philosophy, and Tahsin, a junior majoring in business administration and economics, both previously served as USG funding directors.

“It’s definitely been a very tough campaign,” Tahsin said. “We’ve done all of this within three weeks. Trenton and I learned a lot about ourselves and each other.” 

Stone and Tahsin’s campaign focused on increasing civic engagement throughout campus by funding student-run organizations and initiatives. Their platform also included a plan to create an online system that would allow students to interact more directly with the University. . 

“The next thing I want to focus on is getting the right people in USG to accomplish not only our own platform, but the platform of the school and the platform of the student body,” Stone said. 

The two will officially begin their term in early April.

Sen. Meagan Lane said the election rules were unfair, which affected her  campaign with Michaela Murphy. 

 “I don’t think [the election] was set up for us to be successful,” Lane said. “May the best candidate win, but in order for that to happen, the rules have to be fair. I hope that that’s reevaluated, at least in my absence from the organization next year, which I want to make very clear.” 

At the beginning of Feburary, a complaint was filed against Lane’s ticket, alleging that it had violated the USG Elections Code. The USG Elections Commission voted unanimously in Lane’s favor.

Lane and Murphy were initially the sole candidates running for the executive position, until Stone and Tahsin, along with Maxwell Brandon and Grayson Adler, entered the race as write-in candidates. One write-in ticket dropped out before the first debate. 

“Three other tickets were permitted to enter the race without any stipulations,” Lane said. “We found that a lot of the platform points seemed to be oddly reminiscent of some that we had already maybe thought of and published. They got the same money, the same benefits, the same everything. Their names weren’t supposed to be on the ballot, per the Elections Code, but they were.” 

According to the 2019 Elections Code, write-in candidates are permitted to submit their candidacies by Feb. 1. Such candidates’ names are allowed to appear on the ballot if they meet the deadline, the code said. Both the Trenton & Mahin and Maxwell & Grayson tickets submitted their write-in candidacies in late January. 

The USG Elections Committee gathered Friday when a canvasser for Stone and Tahsin allegedly took a student’s phone and voted for them. The Elections Commission unanimously voted against the complaint, stating that a violation of the Elections Code had not occured. 

Brandon, a junior majoring in business administration and accounting said that regardless of the election outcome, he’s hopeful that Stone and Tahsin follow through with their campaign promises.

“I think we gave it a good run,” Brandon said. “It would’ve been nice to win, but we had a lot of fun along the way … We didn’t have have much time to organize, to do as much groundwork as we would’ve liked to do.” 

Brandon and Adler were the only presidential and vice presidential candidates without USG experience. They are both members of the USC chapter of Young Americans for Freedom, the student group responsible for bringing conservative commentator Ben Shapiro to campus in October.

“[Stone and Tahsin should] reach out to the student body, reach out to every individual that [they] can and make sure that all the voices are heard,” Adler said. “I’m sure that Trenton is just as capable, if not more capable to do that.” 

The results of this year’s senatorial race were also announced on Tuesday. The USG 2019-20 Senate comprises Sarah Khoshniyati, Emily Donahue, Haley Garland, Hailey Robertson, Angela Chuang, Emily Johnson, Benjamin Shiff, Ben Rosenthal, Christopher McMorran, Randi Anderson, Omar Garcia and Rose Ritch.