Wednesday, September 12, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 1185



Staff Editorial


Jason C. Consolacion       Ed De La Garza 
Nikie Johnson          Christian Schmidt         Keenan Singleton

Fair elections, please

This year's Student Government Association elections have once again been wracked by allegations of fraud and incompetence.

Independent presidential candidate Fabian Sifuentes made four complaints Monday and Tuesday. Sifuentes alleges that members of the
Student Voice party hung a banner inside the 50-foot boundary around a polling location despite rules to the contrary, and that members of
the Student Voice Party were campaigning too close to the polling place at Philip Guthrie Hoffman Hall.

Sifuentes also complained that Election Commissioner Maceo Smedley, who is supposed to be unbiased, discussed the Student Voice
ticket with a voter, and that a poll worker at PGH was advising students to vote straight ticket for the Student Voice Party.

All of the allegations appear to be true, and that is disturbing.

Last year's elections were also strewn with complaints of campaigning and voting violations, many from presidential candidate Bill Kelly and
his party, UH United. Indeed, last year the Student Voice Party was accused of violating the 50-foot rule and using SGA funds to distribute
fliers with the party's name on them.

It seems clear that the same sort of allegations have followed the Student Voice Party throughout its history, and election commissioners
John Martinez and Maceo Smedley do not seem willing to take adequate steps to end such violations. Both were election commissioners
last year as well and did little to punish violations then.

Perhaps the most troubling news to come from the election thus far came Tuesday, when a Daily Cougar reporter was successful in
obtaining three voting ballots. The reporter voted just once (he turned the other two ballots in blank), but the fact that he was able to get more
than one ballot is inexcusable.

The Cougar 1Card machines are supposed to ensure that each student can vote only once, but technical errors at Moody Towers (the
machine was not correctly plugged in) and simple lapses in judgment by poll workers (the reporter talked a worker into giving him a ballot
despite the fact that the machine indicated his card was invalid, meaning he'd already voted) render them useless.

These mistakes can not happen if there is to be any appearance of a fair election.

The student body must call upon the new administration to fix the problems that have plagued SGA recently, and insisting on a fair election is
the best place to start.

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