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UA Election Results Delayed by Appeals

By Frank Dabek
News Editor

The results of this year's Undergraduate Association elections have been tabulated but will not be released until next week while the UA judicial review board settles appeals stemming from the election. The delay results, in part, from an appeal of a ruling made by the election board on the actions of Paul T. Oppold '99 in his campaign for UA president.

As reported in the March 10 issue of The Tech, Oppold's campaign faced criticism for running mates without obtaining new signatures for his petition, for sending mass e-mails, and for campaigning while obtaining signatures. Seth M. Bisen-Hersh '01, the UA election commissioner, ruled that the first two actions were legal and put Oppold on probation for the third.

Bisen-Hersh said that the results of the election were tabulated by Wednesday evening. A resolution passed at the UA meeting on Monday night, however, prevents those results from being released while the judicial board, whose members were also appointed on Monday, hears appeals in the case.

Ashwin Viswanathan '98, the chair of that board, said that the group would meet Thursday and over the weekend to review applicable UA by-laws and to "review the formal complaint." He said that the board will reach a decision "probably by Monday." The resolution states that the appeals process may not delayed the results beyond March 22.

The "judicial review board comments on the constitutionality of decisions" made during the course of the election, Viswanathan said. The board may make a recommendation as to what actions are appropriate following its decision, but it will not have the final word on what, if any, actions are taken.

Current UA President Dedric A. Carter '98 said that "it would be up to the executive committee to" adopt a course of action following the decision of the review board. Outcomes of that decision range "from the possibility of having a new election to going with the election as it is."

Delay to preserve election process

Carter said that while the UA is "not happy with an appeal very valid issues have been brought up." It is "better to have the appeal handled and the issue addressed," he said. "Above all there should be a pure election process."

Sandra C. Sandoval '00, current UA vice president and a candidate for UA president, was not disturbed by the delay. "Whatever the judicial review board has to do is necessary," she said.

Campaigning practices in the race for class of 1999 president are also being considered. Raymond W. Szeto '99 sent a large number of messages to members of the class of '99 soliciting votes, a possible violation of election rules. According to Bisen-Hersh, "it turns out that [Szeto] was not using any algorithm he was just going through the student directory and writing them really nice e-mails."

Bisen-Hersh told Szeto to stop the mailings but took no other action. Pooja Shukla '99, Szeto's opponent, may have appealed that decision.

Shukla herself allegedly sent unsolicited e-mail in violation of election rules. Bisen-Hersh said that Shukla claimed to know all of the people who received messages from her and was not cited with any violations.

Changes to EC position possible

Despite problems with this year's elections, Carter said that he was pleased with the work of the election commission. "The election commission worked very hard," he said.

After the troubles this year, however, Carter said that the "UAwill be looking at the entire election process." Changes will be made to make sure that the job of election commissioner is not overburdening, he said.