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Pres. Races Close in Election

By Justin G. Wong

With polls closing on Friday, there is no clear leader among the six candidates each for the presidency of class council 2004 and presidency of class council 2007.

Goodwin Chen, Maria E. Hidalgo, Joe D. Jacobs, Patrick Y. Kim, Atif Z. Qadir, and Nadjia M. Yousif are running for 2004 president. Michael S. Hall, Naveen M. Krishnan, Toyya A. Pujol-Mitchell, Paul G. Puskarich, Elizabeth R. Ricker, and Adam M. Smith are vying for 2007 president.

Most candidates share very similar platforms, with all of the 2004 candidates advocating some variation of a career fair and all 2007 candidates embracing some manifestation of "class unity."

Some students appeared unaware of the elections taking place. Michael R. Naber 907 said that he did not know about the elections until a candidate asked him to sign a petition. When Jacqueline A. Lai 904 was asked if she knew the names of any 2004 candidates, she said, "No, not in the least."

The lack of student enthusiasm is mainly a result of having elections early in the term, said 2004 presidential candidate Kim.

Kim, a member of Sigma Nu, also said that the timing of this year9s campaign puts fraternity members at a disadvantage because it conflicts with Rush.

However, Hidalgo, who has served on class council before, said that she feels they had sufficient time to campaign. Hidalgo said that she felt many of her classmates recognize her name because she had sent many e-mails to her class while serving on previous councils.

Offensive posters removed

Some candidates have used shock tactics on posters that have been considered by some to be offensive. McCormick House President Marjan S. Bolouri 904 said that she has removed two offensive posters from the Hall-Whitman campaign from McCormick.

She took them down because the slogan "With looks this good, who needs roofies?" would offend victims of date rape, she said. 3Roofies2 is a slang term for the date rape drug Rohypnol. Hall declined to comment on the matter.

The Hall-Whitman poster is only one of many posters that "toe the line between what is appropriate and what is offensive," Bolouri said.

New rules follow scandal

The compressed timeframe for campaigning results from election rule changes going into effect this year, Bisker said. The rules stipulate that an election of new officers must be held before the first UA Senate meeting of the year on Sept. 15.

The e-mailing of election packets to candidates, a new feature this year, helped to alleviate the time crunch, Bisker said.

The special election for class council 2004 will fill vacancies created by the resignations of Alvin M. Lin and Nikhil S. Gidwani from the president and vice president positions because their campaign platform was plagiarized.

At this election9s candidate meeting, the election commission made candidates aware that platform plagiarism would immediately result in disqualification, Bisker said. This reminder was not needed in previous years because "it was never an issue."

Many candidates run as pairs

To increase their exposure in such a limited amount of time, some presidential and vice presidential candidates are running in pairs. For example, Qadir is running with vice president candidate Ken Nesmith 904. Having a running mate increases the reach of the campaign, Qadir said, because having a running mate combines voter loyalties.

Other pairs include Elizabeth Ricker and Elizabeth S. Rosenblatt 907, and Hall and Whitman.

Election runs until Friday

Members of the Class of 2004 and the Class of 2007 can vote online at http://vote.mit.edu from today until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 11.

Students may also cast paper ballots in Lobby 10 on Friday, Sept. 12 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The candidate platforms can be found on the Web at: http://web.mit.edu/ua/elections/Fall03/candidates/.