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Most Positions Vacant in Upcoming UA Races

By Daniel C. Stevenson
Editor in Chief

Only four of the 24 positions in this month's Undergraduate Association elections have candidates following Friday's regular deadline for turning in signature petitions.

Candidates can turn in petitions until March 17, five days before the elections, but must wait three days after they turn in their petitions before beginning to campaign, according to UA Council Floor Leader Russell S. Light '98.

"A lot of it has to do with the fact that we changed the deadlines," said UA President Vijay P. Sankaran '95, referring to the decision last week by the elections commission to accept late petitions.

The lack of candidates is "a natural consequence" of the deadline extension, Light said. "The way I consider it, last Friday was not a deadline - it was a recommended target date," he said. "It certainly added some confusion to the elections."

Light said he expects most people will "wait until the last minute" to turn in the petitions. Students that do so will only have two days to campaign, and will be at a disadvantage, he said.

Vacancies in class officers

"I'm not overly worried about the number of candidates right now," Sankaran said.

"Most of the vacancies are in the area of class officers," Sankaran said. Two of the class president elections are not contested, and no candidates have submitted petitions for vice president, secretary, treasurer, social chair, or publicity chair for any of the three continuing classes.

"I think it might partly have to with people's enthusiasm with the class council" which goes in cycles, Sankaran said. Additionally, "publicity hasn't been as good as it could be," he said. "That definitely has had some effect on the candidates who actually know that there is going to be an election coming up soon."

As of last night, 13 candidates or candidate pairs had submitted petitions and declared their candidacy for offices, according to UA Council Floor Leader Russell S. Light '98. Carrie R. Muh '95 and Eric S. Balsley '95 are running for UA president and vice president, respectively, along with the team of Sheldon W. Myrie '95 and Jennifer K. Johnson '98, Light said.

Students running for president of their class are Matthew J. Turner '96, Surekha Vajjhala '96, Pardis C. Sabeti '97, and Jane Ginsburg '98.

Four positions on the UA Finance Board are open, with seven candidates running. The candidates are: Andrew K. Boral '98, Miriam A. Ferrell '95, Heramb R. Hajarnavis '95, David C. Helmuth '98, Matilde N. Kamiya '97, Donald E. Lacey '98, and Ashwin Viswanathan '98.

UA leadership resists change

So far, the UA leadership has resisted calls to lower the signature requirements to get on the ballot. However, if a significant number of positions still do not have candidates by the middle to end of next week, Light said he would recommend to the election commission that the requirement be reduced.

"Traditionally, not all of the positions are filled," Light said, especially class publicity and social chairs.

The lack of candidates is "enormously frustrating" said UAC representative Jason W. Solinsky '95, who sponsored a council motion to reduce the number of signatures. The motion, which passed council last month, was ruled unconstitutional by UA Judicial Board Chair Albert L. Hsu '96 and vetoed by Sankaran.

"I'm hopeful that when people see that nobody is running a lot more people will throw their hats into the ring," he said. However, if that is not the case, Solinsky said he hopes the elections commission will lower the signature requirement.