Empty seats and bylaw changes to the Students& Association Senate will cause some irregularities in next week&s election.
The election will attempt to fill four senate seats that were vacated this semester. Two of these are for area senators, who usually have their elections in the fall.
Other area elections will also take place now, because election reforms added more senate seats for Susan B. Anthony Residence Halls, Hill Court and Towers.
Furthermore, at-large elections have changed to take place in the spring instead of the fall. The at-large senators who were elected last fall must now run again, before having completed their term of one year.
The senate recently modified its election process to circumvent the double representation which freshman housing would create 8212; class and area senators would overlap on the Residential Quad.
Four senators left their positions this semester. Take Five Scholar and Off-Campus Senator Rob Wittmann resigned in early February. Sophomore and Graduate Living Center Kiernan Gordon moved to SBA, but remained a senator. Class of 2002 Senator Kimberly Chesebrough and At-Large Senator John Brach, both juniors, went abroad, leaving their seats open until now.
If a senator in a contest election vacates the spot, the loser with the next-highest number of votes is then asked to fill the spot, according to the SA constitution.
But all four departing senators had run in uncontested elections or the loser declined the seat. In that case, no provisions to fill the seat exist.
Election committee chair and Class of 2002 Senator Joe Cacciola does not feel that four vacant senate seats is a problem.
&I think it&s fine the way it is,& he said. &I don&t see it as being no representation because we have at-large and class senators who step up and represent. I don&t feel that people are unrepresented for an extended period of time.&
Junior and Hill Court Senator John LaBoda, who chairs the committee that works on changing current policy, said it doesn&t matter much that a certain particular constituency is not covered.
&There&s no difference as far as representation,& he said. &We all basically have the same ideas.&
Senior and Speaker of the Senate Damon Dimmick said that holding a special election at the time of seat vacancy would be unfeasible because voter turnout would be very low.
Students don&t seem deeply perturbed that they have been without representation in senate, or even aware of the fact.
&I didn&t know we didn&t [have an area senator],& sophomore Jason Nordhaus said. &I&m not sure how involved they are, but it wouldn&t hurt to have one.&
&I don&t know what they do exactly, but they could be helpful if they could inform us about events happening on campus,& said freshman Owais Rabbani, who lives off campus with his grandmother.
The two current at-large senators, junior Kris Kiefer and sophomore Adam Simmons, must now re-run against four other candidates for the four total seats, though they were just elected last fall.
The constitution says that senators may only serve for one year before going up for re-election.
Because it takes a vote of 50 percent of the student body to amend the constitution, such a task is nearly impossible.
&It&s a little discouraging, but it&s nice to see that we&re getting some competition and I welcome the challenge,& Kiefer said.
Kiefer serves on the policy committee, which was responsible for changing the election procedures.
Simmons was also good-natured about rerunning.
&It&s kind of difficult but it was really good that they changed the bylaws,& he said.
LaBoda said he doesn&t like the fact that the two must rerun, but there is no alternative.
&This is just a correction year,& he said. &They&re both great senators. Unfortunately, they got the short end of the stick.&
Four of the eight races in next week&s election will be contested.
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Additional reporting by Pranav Chandra.