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Tuesday, March 7, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 110

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Miller, Webb settle SA election complaints

Appeal dropped with promise Senate will review Election Code

By Jim Parsons
Daily Cougar Staff

Complaints regarding the manner in which this year's Students' Association general elections were carried out were settled Monday with a promise to review -- and possibly reform -- the SA's Election Code so similar issues do not arise in future years.

Adam Miller, a candidate for a Social Sciences seat in the SA Senate, had filed a complaint and appeal against the SA Election Commission alleging that this year's elections were unfair because they did not follow prescribed Election Code policy of establishing 10 polling locations across campus and requiring students to vote at a certain location according to the colleges in which they study.


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Students' Association candidates and supporters await results of the SA elections Friday afternoon. The election was contested by a candidate who alleged an unfair polling procedure, but that complaint was settled Monday evening.

Election Commissioner Kim Webb said the changes -- which reduced the number of polling places, but allowed students to vote anywhere on campus, regardless of their colleges -- were intended to make the election process easier for students.

This year, 2,616 votes were cast in the SA elections, as opposed to 217 in 1999 and 807 the year before.

An University Hearing Board meeting was called for Monday evening to review Miller's appeal, but Miller, Webb and SA Speaker Pro Tempore Richard Russell were able to reach an agreement before the board convened.

Under the agreement, Miller said he would drop the appeal if the Senate would investigate election reform in its next administration.

Miller said Monday that, although he did not win a Senate seat, he would work with the Senate to review election policy.

He said he was relieved that a resolution had been negotiated.

"I don't think anybody wanted to have to go through the process of having a new election," Miller said.

Webb also expressed relief that the matter was resolved without a formal hearing.

"It's for the best," she said. "That's exactly what I wanted to see."

Most of the other candidates who gathered in the University Center Underground on Monday expecting to attend the Hearing Board meeting shared those sentiments, saying the resolution brought a close to a successful election period.

"I know we had some rough edges, but in the end, we worked everything out," said James Robertson Jr., a presidential candidate who will face Justin Ray in a runoff election later this month.

"It seems fair to me," agreed Craig Stewart, who lost his bid for a Social Sciences Senate seat.

Although Stewart said having students vote by college would have made his campaigning job easier -- he was an independent candidate and had to do the lion's share of his campaigning alone -- he said the increased voter turnout this year was "worth the sacrifice."

Russell, who authored a response to Miller's charges on behalf of the SA and the Election Commission, said every other SA administration is obligated to fully review the group's constitution, including the Election Code. Russell indicated a select committee might be formed to specifically examine election procedures.

Miller said he would work with the Senate in that review. Other candidates, like Stewart and independent presidential candidate Andy Brown, also said they would work with SA on various issues in the coming year.

Runoff elections for president and vice president are scheduled for March 22 and 23. For full results from this year's elections, turn to Page 4.
 

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