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Elections extended

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Published on March 29, 2009 in The Huntington News

Elections for the next Student Government Association (SGA) President were extended last night, as total votes barely surpassed half the amount required to appoint someone to the position.

Voting was scheduled to end at 11:59 tonight, however the lack of votes lead to the five-day extension voted on by a majority of the members of the Senate Nominations and Elections Committee (SNEC).

This is the second year SGA has had to extend the voting period.

Twenty percent of the student body, or 3,000 people, need to vote to meet the requirements, but only 1,587 were cast as of 2 p.m. yesterday. Members of SNEC said last night that, while deadline extensions are not ideal, they remain hopeful that the requirement gap can be filled.

‘Granted, it’s not guaranteed [that the 20 percent mark will be met], but I hope it will be,’ SGA Parliamentarian Chris Bourne said. ‘It will give students time if they haven’t done so already to vote, and they’ll be online registering for classes and see the voting application. I think it’ll be more traffic and would help us a lot.’

If the necessary votes are not cast, SGA joint senate will decide the vote. Bourne said he hoped the vote count will be released to the joint senate if this situation occurred so they will vote in accordance with the students.

However, if the amount of votes is close to the 20 percent threshold, Bourne said the direct elections manual would be overridden and the votes that had been cast would be the official count.

Since last year, there has been more promotion of the elections, with the use of Facebook ads to promote the election and sending out e-mails that will be sent to students today, SGA Director of Public Relations Amanda Sabia said. Despite these efforts, the numbers were similar to last years’.

Sabia said she expects numbers to grow in the upcoming years.

‘We have to remember it’s a new practice and this is only our third year,’ she said. ‘With any new program it takes a little bit of time. ‘hellip; I think it will be successful but it’s still the running start so we need to lay the basics of the elections before they flourish.’

The first year that direct elections were instated, 27.5 percent of the student body voted, according to the April 11, 2007 issue of the Northeastern News.

But even if SGA does get its 20 percent, the organization faces another hurdle:’ the no confidence vote. Some student groups said they were suggesting that members vote no confidence in the election for various reasons. The Husky Energy Action Team (HEAT) did not endorse a candidate for the first time since direct elections started three years ago due to weak platforms.

‘Neither candidate truly has a strong enough platform on sustainability than we wish and we feel is necessary,’ said HEAT Director of Marketing and Public Relations Dan Abrams.

Abrams said he heard that other student groups will vote no confidence, but are reluctant to speak out because they don’t want to upset the next potential president.

‘I think that other groups should voice their opinion,’ Abrams said. ‘I think student groups are made up of the most involved people, and I think that if they themselves don’t believe in either candidate, that it shows something.’

However, Sabia said she thinks the candidate’s tendencies to speak strongly and publicly about issues might dissuade some student groups from advocating for one candidate over the other.

Sabia said she was aware of people encouraging others to vote no confidence.

‘I think that part of it comes from both candidates are very passionate. When somebody has a lot of passion about something, there’s always going to be somebody who’s opposed to that.’

Despite these discussions, Bourne said he doesn’t expect the no confidence votes to be significant, and said they have never been more than 5 percent of the total vote count. If no confidence wins, the joint senate will then vote.

By having the extension added, Bourne said he wants students to research the candidates through their websites and put their support behind one.

‘I just stress that students vote,’ Bourne said. ‘Even if they don’t want to be an SGA senator, they should learn about the candidates and vote.’

– News staff Anne Baker contributed to this report.

 

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Written by jdunccc

March 29, 2009 at 12:00 am

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