The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 41.0°F | A Few Clouds and Breezy

Freshmen Revote on President, Treasurer

UA Judicial Board Declares Paper Balloting Invalid After Alleged Violations

By Brian Loux

ASSOCIATE NEWS EDITOR

The Undergraduate Association Judicial Board announced last night that the paper ballot elections for the Class of 2005 President and Treasurer will be run again.

Although the UA declined to comment on the specifics of the violations, complaints were apparently lodged against Jesse R. Alejandro ’05 and Daniel F. Kanamori ’05, candidates for Treasurer and President, respectively. Complaints were specific to the paper balloting portion of the election, which was held in Lobby 10 on Thursday.

Allegations against the two candidates included campaigning inside Lobby 10 and illegal postering on the scaffolding outside Lobby 7. An individual close to the election said that “we all were told that the unwritten rule was to avoid Lobby 10 as much as possible.”

The UA Judboard began deliberating at 7 p.m., reaching a decision four hours later. The official tally of votes began later than originally scheduled due to the complaints. The counting did begin at 9 p.m., before Judboard reached a final decision on the matter. At the vote count, representatives for the candidates were told that Judboard was convening to hear the allegations. Votes cast for President and Treasurer were not tallied last night.

In accordance with the Judboard ruling, a new round of paper ballots for the two offices will replace yesterday’s round of voting. Votes that had been cast online will be used for the official count. The new round of voting begins again today in Lobby 10 at 9 a.m., and will continue until 5 p.m.

Kanamori, Alejandro upset by decision

Kanamori and Alejandro were displeased by the Judboard’s ruling, saying that their strategy involved specifically courting voters during the paper balloting phase of the election.

“The decision of the Judboard was completely subjective and incompetent,” said Kanamori. “The idea of redoing this is ridiculous. It was the strategy of Jesse and I to focus on getting paper ballot votes while other people worked for online votes. I spent half my money yesterday, worked since 3 a.m. Thursday on posters and spent my entire day campaigning ... now I am trying to be taken down.”

Alejandro said, “I spent $50 on candy and spent 6 straight hours in the hallway, which was all thrown away.”

Alejandro said that Judboard’s decision seems considerably harsh. Earlier in the campaign, he was censured for postering too early. “I was not made aware of the rules when I went to pick up my campaign packet, unlike other candidates. I then began postering around midnight, and when I realized I made a mistake, I took them down the next morning and wrote an apology. Yet I was still punished.”

Both candidates remarked how campaigning tomorrow will be tougher and different for all candidates. “This decision completely ignores the money and effort we put into Thursday’s campaign, and we do not have the ability to put such effort into Friday’s campaign. Plus we all have tests tomorrow, which makes campaigning much tougher.”

Kanamori accused Judboard of “picking favorites.” He said, “I placed two or three posters on construction ... while other candidates spammed entire dormitories and were only forced to write letters of apology ... I’m worried that should this have happened to someone else, this may not have happened,” Kanamori said. Alejandro also noted that Judboard has shown inconsistency in its rulings, citing a pair of e-mail violations which he felt were similar in nature. According to the UA web site, Shima Goswami ’05 was removed from the ballot for class Secretary due to soliciting votes via e-mail before the beginning of the campaign period. Judboard ruled that Dexter Ang ’05, candidate for class President, violated election rules by sending an e-mail to the freshmen list for Baker House. Ang was required to send an apology to the list and received a official warning, but was not removed from the ballot.

“I understand the actions of some candidates, because they are competitive, but I do not understand why the UA is trying to be subjective and spur of the moment here, not acting wisely,” Alejandro said.

Kanamori and Alejandro are drafting a petition to reverse the decision of the Judboard and to reimburse all candidates for the money they spent to campaign on Thursday. They argue that a decision should have been reached before the UA even opened the ballot box.

Other people disagree with Kanamori and Alejandro’s assessment of the situation, and were distressed by their proximity to the voting booth. “They could have greatly affected the outcome of the election if people are voting while someone is campaigning right by where you place your ballot,” said Scott M. Edinburgh ’05, a candidate for Treasurer. “This is why such practices are not allowed here and in other elections.”

Another student who wished to remain anonymous stated that he/she noticed a Judboard official approach the two candidates and ask them to move from Lobby 10. The two subsequently moved down the Infinite Corridor adjacent to the lobby. “I think their actions violated the spirit of the campaign and they should be treated as such,” the student said.

Four class council offices filled

The election commission tallied votes for the four other class council positions and announced official results. Alexis R. Desieno ’05 won the Vice Presidency, Shiela M. Krishna ’05 was named Secretary, Joyce Y. Chung ’05 and Kathy H. Li ’05 will serve as Publicity Coordinators, and Jocelyn K. D’Arcy ’05 and Elizabeth C. Lawes ’05 as Social Chairs.

“I was excited, but even more surprised,” said Desieno. “The campaigns were above and beyond anything I saw in high school, and everyone was very qualified. The whole campaign was very hardcore, with people being turned in and being kicked off the ballots. I tried to take a more laid back approach with my campaign ... but I wanted to do something unique to stand out.” Desieno is glad to have the opportunity to tackle the food issues that are at the forefront of many student discussions on campus today.

Krishna said that the campaign as a whole went well, “there were a few issues with violations, but people ran some clean campaigns and we can pride ourselves on that,” she said. She also wanted to congratulate everyone who ran because “running takes guts.” She hopes to meet with the other officers soon. “I really don’t like this idea that MIT is hell, and I want to see what we can do about it.”

The UA has yet to set a schedule for the tallying of tomorrow’s ballots and the announcement of the winners of the two seats in question.