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21 UA Candidates Join Race in Late Deadline Open Constituencies Remain After Extension

By Joanne Shih

As of Monday night’s late petition deadline, 21 additional candidates have signed up to run in the Undergraduate Association Senate elections, though there are still open seats in four constituencies: Interfraternity Council, Living Group Council, Random Hall, and Simmons Hall. Three of these constituencies — LGC, Random, and Simmons — do not have any candidates running.

The turnout for this year’s late petition deadline was similar to last year’s, when 21 candidates signed up after the regular deadline as well. However, all of the constituencies had at least one candidate last year.

Voting commenced online yesterday at http://vote.mit.edu/ and will conclude Thursday at 11:59 p.m. Paper balloting will be held on Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Lobby 10. Winners of the elections will be announced Saturday.

Although there are still open positions left, students can still vote for write-in candidates. The system for determining the number of write-ins is the same as last year’s, according to UA Vice President Ruth Miller ’07 (also a Campus Life writer for The Tech). For constituencies that already have enough official candidates to fill all open seats, one more than the number of open seats will be allocated for write-ins; for those that do not, twice the number of open seats will be available.

The UA is making plans to change the write-in system for spring semester elections, Miller said.

For constituencies that have no candidates after the vote, the president or head of each will nominate students for the Senate on the first UA meeting of the year, scheduled for Oct. 2, 2006.

To encourage increased participation — seven constituencies had no candidates as of Friday — Miller ’07 said she and UA President Andrew T. Lukmann ’07 “tapped the grapevine” through word-of-mouth.

“Former senators, committee chairman, and house presidents pushed the elections with their own constituencies,” Miller said. “I personally spammed my dorm discuss list a few times.” The increased publicity was apparently effective since the number of UA senate candidates tripled since last Friday when there were 10 candidates. The total number is now 31.

The fact that three constituencies have no candidates running is “unfortunate, but it could have been a lot worse,” Miller said.

The voting process has one difference from previous years, according to Miller. Affiliated undergraduates who reside in dormitories will determine their constituencies during the vote this week. In the past, a separate period of time — a week before the vote — was set aside for candidates to decide whether to affiliate themselves with their Fraternities, Sororities, and Independent Living Groups or their dormitory. This change, proposed by Lukmann last year, was made in an effort to “move everything up a bit” in the voting process, said Miller, so that the Senate could start its affairs sooner, such as approving the Association of Student Activities budget.

Because of the voting change, senate allocations or affiliations will not be determined until after voting ends. “We’ll have to wait and see at the end of the week,” Miller said in an e-mail, since “people don’t have to decide until they vote.”