The Students’ Association elections for 2009 class council, 2009 senate and senate at-large members finished successfully last night, despite a minor setback Monday morning and a half hour of system downtime on Wednesday evening.Freshmen who attempted to vote online before 3:30 p.m. were only able to vote for a maximum of four candidates for class council, instead of the correct number of eight. All other elections were not affected by the error.”A request made to us for vote adjustments was misinterpreted,” ITS Unix Consultant Dave Kucmerowski said. “The change request was for the number of write-in votes to be changed from eight to four, not the number of total votes allowed.”The problem was discovered when several freshmen reported it to the voting table in Wilson Commons.ITS had the voting system working properly by 3:30 p.m. and freshmen were allowed to re-vote, rather than wait for a second election.”It seemed a waste of time and resources to continue to allow the class to vote and then have to re-run the entire election,” Assistant Director of Wilson Commons Student Activities and advisor to the Elections Committee Laura Ballou said. “Past experience has shown us that voter turnout significantly decreases during a second election.” Continuing, she said, “Since the system was able to be changed on the fly with the ability to track those who needed to revote, it was decided that this was the best solution.”The 157 freshmen affected by the problem were notified of the situation in an e-mail and allowed to revote until polls closed last night.”I was able to extract the effected voters’ NetIDs from the system,” Kucmerowski said. “Of the affected voters, 72 percent re-voted.”The system went down around 8 p.m. last night, but was fully operational by 8:30 p.m., according to Speaker of the Senate and Election Committee Chair David Ladon. Students were still able to vote via paper ballots during the time and normal voting procedures resumed until closing time at 10 p.m.Results for all elections are unofficial until paper ballots are tabulated and electronic results can be verified.”We have to make sure that those write-ins don’t match names already on the slate,” Kucmerowski said. “We go through and make sure there’s nothing nasty – anything that’s personally attacking someone gets taken out.”Also removed from the count are duplicates and fictional persons such as Spongebob Squarepants and Ron Burgundy.While the total number of voters is still in question, at least 879 ballots were counted as of this morning. “I think it’s not a bad turnout, considering most of elections were only open to freshmen,” Ladon said. “I think it was a mistake to split the at-large elections between the spring and fall – doing so makes the job more difficult and increases the margin of error. It’s hard to get upperclassmen to vote for three spots.”Ladon plans to propose changing all at-large senate elections to the spring, but is still pleased with the turnout. “I’m really happy there were so many people interested in running,” Ladon said. “We had freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors and Take Five students run in the at-large election.”Both freshman election races were extremely competitive, with nine candidates for three at-large senate seats, 11 candidates running for three 2009 senate seats and 28 candidates vying for eight class council positions.”It shows people are invested in the university and campus community,” Ladon said. SA President and senior Matt Goldblatt agrees with Ladon.”The class of 2009 is an excellent class – they’re very enthusiastic in getting involved,” he said. “It reflects positively on the admissions process and is a really great direction for the school to be headed in.”Ladon is anxious to get senate moving. “The only way we’re going to make this place better is to do something about it. Senate’s action oriented this year – we’re about doing things instead of just giving lip service,” he said.Continuing, he said, “I’m glad it went well without any major issues. Committees are going to start meeting now and cabinet appointments are going to be approved Monday.”All election results are unofficial – the Elections Committee has five days to determine their authenticity.The three at-large senate seats will be filled by Take Five Scholar Patrick Brennan, junior Brian Clancy and senior Marc Perez.Freshmen Dan Strauss, Brittany Carter and Hallie Cohn grabbed the most votes in the 2009 class senator race.According to the current tally, the 2009 Class Council spots will most likely be filled by Yorda Yenenh, Mustafa Rehmani, Mike Shea, Mike Furlani, Tyler Socash, Eric Sansky, Brian Ruhle and Nathan Danek.Borchardt can be reached at email@example.com.
Research at Rochester: Bajaj tackles political campaigning and engagement
Sophomore Gautam Bajaj has always been interested in making a difference in people’s lives. In middle school, Bajaj was a member of Model UN, keen on understanding the relationships between societies and within the international world.