The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 46.0°F | Overcast

Undergraduate Association should count votes of those who abstained

This year's Undergraduate Association elections contained a new concept: Students for None of the Above. Our group believed that none of the candidates was "qualified" for office, and urged students to mark "None of the Above" on their ballots. These ballots were not counted, and the reason UA Election Commissioner Christine M. Coffey '93 gave was, "They aren't valid ballots, why should we bother counting them?" In what could be called "real" elections, abstentions are valid and counted. In the Soviet Union, votes for "None of the Above" are counted, and are often used to keep candidates out of offices. The UA Council even counts abstentions during its biweekly meetings. Why, then, did the UA Election Commission take it on themselves to rob <>

the undergraduates of this knowledge?

According to the "Unofficial UA Election Results" posted outside the UA office, 1585 votes were cast. According to The Tech, only 1339 of these were "first-choice ballots." What happened to the other 246 ballots? Were they "invalid"? Perhaps some of them were indeed invalid, having been cast for ineligible candidates: Shawn J. Mastrian '91 and Adam Braff '91, Snoopy, Winnie the Pooh, or other hack candidates. But 246 ballots is a sizable number, especially when compared to the 214 garnered by Thomas S. Kang '91/Jon D. Strizzi '92 and the 265 received by David W. Hogg '92/David M. Stern '91. A voting bloc that large should be included in the analysis, as it sends a message to the UA Council and to the voters.

It is in this light that we call for a recount of the ballots -- one which counts the abstentions. Those who abstained did vote and have a right to see their votes counted.

Andrew B. Ellis '93->

UA Council Executive Board->

Ted Y. Ts'o '90->

Students for None of the Above->