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Lee and Carter Win UA Elections by a Small Margin

By A. Arif Husain
News Editor

With a slim 95-vote margin, Richard Y. Lee '97 and Dedric A. Carter '98 won the offices of Undergraduate Association president and vice president yesterday in the closest election in four years.

Lee and Carter beat opponent pair Ashwin Viswanathan '98 and Orli G. Bahcall '99 by just four percent of the total vote. Since candidates were ranked preferentially, lower-ranked candidates were redistributed until a first-place majority was achieved.

The third pair, Steven E. Jens '97 and Andrew R. Menard '97, along with several write-in candidates, were defeated in the first round. There were a total of 1,077 ballots in the final round.

Lee and Carter will take office at the end of this term.

"[Lee] and I have a kind of team-oriented concept," Carter said. Their immediate plans are to organize groups assigned to look into and address a variety of issues.

"We have already started assembling teams," Lee said. "First order of priority is to find the right people to work with us - not just new people, but people within the UA as well."

"Right now it's the toughest job ahead of us. There are a lot of criticisms about what we can do. A lot of them are very legitimate and very valid," Lee said. "The job now is to fulfill those promises and work with everyone so that everything we sought to accomplish comes to fruition."

"We're going to let people know we're here and we're ready to work for them," he said.

Voter turnout was "pretty good" according to UA Treasurer Russell S. Light '98. All results had not been finalized at press time, but about 1,500 votes were collected, Light said.

This year's election was marked by the highest electronic ballot-to-paper ballot ratio in history. About 900 votes were cast through the UA's electronic voting program on Athena, with the remainder cast at polling stations in Lobby 7, Walker Memorial, the Student Center, and in front of Baker House.

Class officers also elected

Incumbent candidate Pardis C. Sabeti '97 will remain president of the class of '97, with 57 percent of the 282 votes. Candidates Christina Hsu '97 and Mary E. Hamilton '97 lost with 28 and 15 percent of the vote, respectively.

In an election of 238 votes, Efe E. Cakarel '98 claimed a five percent lead over Anya J. Freedman '98, to win the class of 1998 president spot.

With a similar lead, Kareem Howard '99 was victorious over Jin S. Kim '99 in securing the office of president for the Class of 1999. The freshman class elections had the largest turnout among the classes with 318 votes cast.

Many other positions ran uncontested, and not all of the official counts have been reported, Light said [See box, page 13].

As in past years, the UA ballot contained a referendum, this time regarding MIT's ROTC program, which is currently being evaluated. Voters were asked to select from several choices ranging from a complete termination of the program to leaving things as-is. The referendum results have not yet been released.

Registrar caused confusion

The elections ran smoothly aside from a minor hitch involving class designations, Light said.

Because of a change in the Registrar's computer system, students with advanced standing were listed with an advanced class, though in fact students' class year - the year which they expected to graduate when they arrived at MIT - is supposed to remain the same in spite of advanced standing.

In such cases, voters were given the ballot for the class of their choice. The confusion occurred only in a few isolated cases, Light said.