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Student Council must work quickly to capture election momentum if it wants to have valid results for its referendum

Last week, Student Council posted a hastily constructed poll on its Web site in response to an error on the ballot for spring elections. By Friday, more than 38,000 votes were cast and Council took the open poll off its Web site with a promise to have a new way for students to vote soon. Council President Matt Schrimper says a new means of voting will not be available immediately as Council is looking for the optimal solution to the past week’s problems, instead of another quick fix.

Council was right not to use the results of its originally flawed poll and to now seek a valid form of surveying the student body. So that the maximum number of students will vote on the University Unity Project referendum, Council must decide on a new solution quickly and heavily advertise its decision.

Schrimper said that Council is currently working with the University Board of Elections on the possibility of holding a special election for its referendum. As UBE is responsible for the problems with the original ballot the least it can do is to hold another election for Council’s referendum. A UBE-run election would secure legitimacy for the results of the referendum that a poll on Council’s Web site cannot.

The next best solution, if working through UBE is not possible, would be a more secure vote on Council’s Web site, Schrimper said. The problem with this solution is the inability of Council to guarantee the security of its poll, as seen this past week. UBE’s ballots are created by ITC and much less likely to be tampered with. Because of this, working with UBE is the best possible scenario.

Whichever solution is chosen, Council must act quickly to capitalize on the momentum of elections while students are still thinking about voting. If Council and UBE decide it is possible to conduct another election solely for the Unity Project referendum, ITC must give top priority to creating a functional ballot immediately. Election results will be announced tonight at 8 p.m., so voting on the referendum needs to begin by Tuesday or Wednesday.

Because University-wide elections are already over, Council will be fortunate if the referendum receives half as many votes as the past spring elections did. As Schrimper pointed out, “Elections are a great venue for thousands of people voting.” Because of the lost momentum of having a separate vote for the referendum, Council must publicize this vote. Also, UBE should help Council advertise this vote in whichever form it takes, because it was UBE’s mistake that invalidated the referendum. For the sake of having a valid consensus from the student body, Council must explore every avenue for publicizing the vote for its referendum.

Council has handled this problem with its referendum as well as can be expected, but it must work with expediency to obtain a valid measurement of student opinion. Working with UBE will produce the most secure results for the referendum, but whether Council can or not, it must copiously advertise the new vote.


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