Student elections may move online

By Gus Bode

Students may be able to vote for Undergraduate Student Government president from home this year, said election commissioner John Teresi.

Teresi announced at a pre-election meeting for student representative candidates Wednesday that a polling company called Student Voices would handle the elections, scheduled for April 15 and 16. The ballot includes two candidates for USG president and a referendum for the proposed $10 “green” fee.

But some candidates disagreed with the idea.


USG President Demetrous White, who is running unopposed for Student Trustee, said the organization had set aside $90,000 to buy computerized voting systems. He said the paper system used in previous years was outdated, but he wasn’t sure about a system that eliminated organized polling places.

“When you have elections, the polling places are where people vote,” White said “If you’ve extending it to where people can vote anywhere, that means that computer in my room is a voting place.”

According to the USG Constitution, the senate must approve new polling places with a two-thirds vote. Candidates also have the right to a poll watcher present at all polling places, and no one is allowed to campaign within 100 feet of a polling place.

But with a system that leaves students able to vote from any location, the rules become murky.

Some of the candidates said they would rather keep the current system or designate some computer labs on campus as polling places.

One of the vice-presidential candidates, Jennifer Arteaga, asked if the restrictions about campaigning near a polling place would apply to areas with computers off campus.

“Let’s say I go to Aspen Court and knock on the door,” Arteaga said.


Teresi replied that the election council, which consists of himself and four other members, would not be able to monitor off-campus activities.

“Is there any way we can vote this down? I don’t know if I like this,” Arteaga responded. Several other candidates murmured their agreement.

“You know, frankly, this discussion is not up for debate in this room right now,” Teresi said. “If you guys have anything to say, I suggest you go to the USG meeting and stand up during the public comments.”

Teresi added that he would be happy to set up mock elections so the candidates could see the effectiveness of the new system. He said another benefit of the system is that it would not cost any money because the polling company is already under contract to the university.

“Obviously, this does open some issues and we’re certainly prepared to discuss this and figure out the best way to resolve it,” Teresi said.

The next USG meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. April 2 in the Student Health Center Auditorium.

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