Only one pair of candidates has officially registered to run for Undergraduate Association President and Vice President this spring. In response, the UA has extended its late petition deadline for the presidential/vice presidential race to Thursday, March 4.
The candidates are two UA senators, Vrajesh Y. Modi ’11 of East Campus, who is running for president; and Samantha G. Wyman ’11 of Burton-Conner, who is running for vice president.
Election Commissioner Sun Kim ’10 decided to extend the registration deadline this weekend. Kim said he wanted to give more candidates the chance to run in order to encourage the spirit of competition.
The extended deadline would “give time to those who were on the fence” to decide to run, Kim said. Official campaigning begins Wednesday, and by setting the deadline for Thursday, late candidates still have time to campaign before the UA President/Vice President Debate on Sunday.
Kim said that no one has contacted him directly about submitting late petitions, but that does not mean people won’t still sign up.
Even if Modi and Wyman remain the only official candidates, write-in candidates could still have a chance of winning. Kim said even write-in candidates can run a strong campaign, mentioning the third place finish last year of write-in candidates Abdulaziz M. Albahar ’10 and Tewfik R. Cassis ’10. Write-in candidates may also campaign, but they are still accountable for the rules.
Modi said that even if he and Wyman remained the only pair running for UA President and Vice President, they would “still campaign seriously” and try to represent the entire undergraduate community.
Members of the UA said that the low number of candidates does not necessarily indicate a general lack of interest among the undergraduates in the UA.
“The number of people who run is not reflective of people interested in the UA, it’s reflective of those who want to spend the time necessary,” said UA Senator from Fraternities Richard A. Dahan ’12.
“Overall, this past year we’ve engaged the students well. The level of students caring and not caring has nothing to do with who is running,” said UA Vice President Margaret K. Delano ’10.
Other UA members expressed the idea that students may hesitate to run because of the time commitment.
“I’m personally not interested [in running for UA President]...it’s a lot of work, and it would distract me from my other activities,” said Senate Speaker Tim Stumbaugh ’12.
Even though the election uses preferential voting, in which voters get to rank their candidates, the UA ballot allows voting for only one write-in candidate. Some students complained during the fall UA elections that this procedure forced them to choose between write-in candidates. While “some students grumbled,” no official complaints were filed, Kim said, so no changes were made for this election.
The UA will announce an official list of all candidates for the spring election late tonight. Positions available are UA President and Vice President, as well as class council positions.
Electronic voting for the spring election begins midnight Tuesday, March 16 and ends midnight Friday, March 19. Paper voting will take place Friday, March 19 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Lobby 10. The winners will be announced midnight on Saturday, March 20.