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Twenty-One New UA Candidates Sign Up Some Senate Seats Still Lack Candidates

By Mei-Hsin Cheng

To fill vacant positions remaining after last Thursday’s candidacy petition deadline, the Undergraduate Association extended the deadline to 5:00 p.m. yesterday. With the addition of 21 Senate candidates since Thursday, each constituency has at least one candidate. The online ballot is open at http://vote.mit.edu.

The deadline Monday was final for those who wished to be official candidates, with their names appearing on the ballots.

Two Senate constituencies, Baker and New House, have fewer official candidates than senator positions, but write-in candidates have historically been common. In the case that a Senate position remains unfilled after elections, the president of the living group is asked to choose a representative, said Andrew T. Lukmann, UA Senate speaker.

This is not the first time there has been a shortage of participation in UA Senate elections. Last year, for example, East Campus did not have any official candidates and instead had seven write-in candidates. However, there was only one write-in candidate slot for each dormitory senator, limiting the number of write-ins residents could vote for to two.

This year, a new system for determining number of write-in slots on the ballot will increase voting flexibility. Under the new rule, if there are enough official candidates to fill the open positions, there will be one more than the number of open positions available for write-ins. If there are too few official candidates, the number of write-in slots is twice the number of open positions. For example, Baker, which has two Senate positions, would get four write-in slots if it had zero or one official candidates.

Public Relation chairs worked on spreading the news of the extended deadline through posters and e-mails sent to all undergraduates, said UA President John M. Cloutier ’06. Candidate platforms for the UA and the 2009 Student Council are posted on the voting Web site, and on the last day of voting, the UA will provide printed packets of the candidate platforms in Lobby 10.

Senate allocations roughly same

This fall marks the first election in which members of Fraternities, Sororities, and Independent Living groups who live in dormitories could choose to vote or run with either their FSILG or residence; in the past, they had automatically been designated with their residence.

As of the deadline last Friday for choosing a constituency, 317 eligible undergraduates were designated with their FSILG, and 230 with their residence, according to Gary L. Sivek, technical coordinator of the election commission.

Those who had not designated voting constituency by Friday were assigned randomly with equal probability into one or the other. Sivek did not have information on how many of the 537 dual members had actively chosen a constituency.

Despite the influx of constituents into the FSILG’s with this change, the number of UA representatives assigned to each constituency, which is based on number of members, did not change much from last year. The only difference is that McCormick Hall lost one Senate representative because its number of residents dropped slightly, Lukmann said.

The electronic ballot closes on Thursday, September 29, 2005, at 11:59 PM. Paper ballots will be available on Friday, September 30, 2005 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM in Lobby 10.