USG votes down online elections

By Gus Bode

After an hour of discussion and several votes, Undergraduate Student Government struck down a proposal to move student elections online and instead voted to keep paper ballots in place at six campus locations.

Senators engaged in a heated question-and-answer session with Election Commissioner John Teresi, who presented the proposal to move student elections online. Teresi said the new system would allow students to vote from any computer through a secure link in their SIU e-mail inboxes. It would also cost the university nothing, because the polling company is already under contract to SIUC, he said.

“I really wish (the senators) would have taken that step,” Teresi said after the vote. “They didn’t, and I respect that. We’ll have to move forward the best we can.”

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Several senators spoke in support of the online system, saying it would give more students the opportunity and inclination to vote.

But some said the system would violate the USG constitution, which states that candidates may not campaign within 100 feet of a polling place. Candidates are also allowed to request the polling places be monitored, according to the constitution.

Senators eventually voted to allow polling places in Trueblood Hall, Student Center, Recreation Center, Lentz Hall, Automotive Technology, Aviation and Lesar Law Building locations.

Teresi said the online system would save money. The election council must spend a minimum of $400 at each polling place to hire two workers for election days, Teresi said. That money is wasted at locations such as the automotive technology building, where only six students voted in last year’s election, he said.

USG also voted to impeach two senators, Seth Carter and BreeAnn Hale, who had missed more than two meetings. Three senators, Mike Martin, Ian Hardcastle and Maya Effort, were nominated for impeachment, but the organization voted to keep them in office.

The impeachment proceedings took about 40 minutes of the meeting. Senators shouted at each other and USG Vice President Candace Fletcher banged her gavel to restore order multiple times.

Fletcher exhibited visible frustration at several points during the meeting such as when Hale said she had been absent because of academic demands.

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“You (saying that you have) classes and all of that is really just repetitive and it’s a lame excuse,” Fletcher said. She added that when senators miss meetings, it is disrespectful and keeps the organization from voting and allocating money for student groups.

Anyone who wants to run for Student Trustee can still do so, Teresi said. The deadline to appear on the ballot has been extended to Wednesday to widen the playing field for candidates. Teresi said interested students must submit a petition with at least 200 signatures to the USG office on the third floor of the Student Center by 4:30 p.m. Monday. USG President Demetrous White is currently unopposed for the position of Student Trustee, but Dylan Burns, a senator representing the College of Liberal Arts, said he was collecting signatures to run against White.

Allison Petty can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 259 or [email protected]

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