Julia Nagel/Sun Photography Editor

Students pack into the Willard Straight Hall Memorial Room during a Student Assembly meeting on Oct. 12.

January 29, 2024

Student Assembly Instates New Director of Elections, Reflects on Progress Made

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The Student Assembly voted in Luke Thomas ’27 as Director of Elections on Jan. 25, saying goodbye to former Director Rahul Verma ’24 with a resolution commending him for his service.

The Director of Elections chairs the election committee, which is responsible for organizing Cornell’s undergraduate Student Assembly elections. The role is voted on annually by the Student Assembly, prior to the spring election of other annual assembly seats.

Thomas ran against Sabine Paz-Le Draoulec ’26, winning in an 18-12 vote. Both candidates gave private speeches to the Student Assembly, before assembly members privately questioned both candidates one-on-one, delegated and voted.

“It’s essential for students to be active in our election process here at Cornell,” Thomas said. “I’m looking forward to working to get more candidates to run for office and to drive up overall engagement amongst the student body.”

He seeks to fill the shoes of Verma, who in his year in office oversaw the spring 2023 and fall 2023 elections, increasing voter turnout to the highest percentage since the pandemic. The spring 2023 elections had a voter turnout of 15.6 percent, compared to 10.55 percent in the spring 2022 elections.

“I believe that transparency in the elections and appointment process should be and remain the highest priority moving forward,” Verma told The Sun. “This is something that I have been working on in the structure of elections, and I encourage the next director of elections to continue this important work.”

The Student Assembly passed Resolution 46 commending Verma for his service to the Student Assembly.

“Rahul has skillfully navigated and maintained strong election integrity, even through unprecedented challenges that have emerged,” the resolution states.

Dorothy France-Miller ’27 is a Sun contributor and can be reached at [email protected].