SGA holds fall elections amidst technical turmoil

The Student Government Association (SGA) managed to recover from technical problems that brought back memories of the botched 2000 presidential election, successfully holding their own fall elections last week, and the results are in.

Lee Whitesell and Marco Zelaya were elected senators of culture and society, Jonathan Cherng and Ravi Kaneriya for senators-at-large, and Giancarlo Giametta for freshman class vice president.

The other open positions were uncontested. The winners by default of these positions are Sam Schneider for senator of business, Todd Stoner for freshman class president, Stefanie Maffa for freshman class secretary, Erick Torres for senator of science and Teo Paoletti for senator of education.

Voting was originally scheduled to take place on Monday and Tuesday. However, it was discovered Monday that a flaw in the voting machines made voters unable to choose two candidates per position, as is required for the positions of senators of culture and society and senators-at-large.

Voting for freshman vice president, the only other contested position, was not affected because this position only requires voters to choose one candidate.

To correct the problem with the voting machines, SGA election chair and alternate student trustee Stefanie Nieves decided to shut down the voting machines used for the two senator positions and disregard the votes that were taken on them. People who used the voting machines to cast their votes for the senator positions on Monday were asked to return and vote again using paper ballots. In order to accommodate voters and further ensure fair results, the election was extended and extra day to Wednesday.

Pedro Khoury, executive president of SGA, said he thought the voting machine problem had a positive effect on the voting system. �An extra day was given, so if anything, I think that gave candidates more time to get people to come vote,� he said.

Fairness appeared to be a top priority for the members of SGA overseeing the election. When a personal friend of SGA student trustee Annelise Catanzaro asked if he still had to show her his ID to vote, Catanzaro insisted that he did saying, �It doesn�t matter (that she knew him).�

Catanzaro said SGA�s procedure for tabulating votes is designed to make the election as fair as possible. Catanzaro explained that SGA waits at least one hour after the polls close to allow the candidates time to file any complaints they may have.

After any complaints are heard, the election committee counts the votes in the presence of two graduating senior members of SGA, the SGA advisor and any delegates appointed by the candidates to observe, should a candidate choose to do so.

Heather Gerson, freshman elementary education and history major, said she feels that voting in the SGA election is very important. �I think it�s important (to vote) whenever you have the chance to just to have your voice heard.�

SGA encourages all students to make their voices heard. Catanzaro said, �When there are issues that are pressing with the students, they become more vocal … We always want people to voice their concerns on our Web site.�