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Volume 70, Issue 113, Wednesday, March 23, 2005

News

Runoff dates to remain the same

Complaint alleges Frontier Fiesta would harm voter turnout

By Tina Marie Macias
Senior Staff Writer

With a Student Government Association special election and runoff days away, a complaint filed Monday accused the SGA Election Commission of disenfranchising voters and violating the Election Code.

The complaint, from Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Senator-elect David Rosen, asked the commission to move the runoff and special election to Tuesday and Wednesday rather than Wednesday and March 31, as originally scheduled, because Frontier Fiesta begins March 31.

Rosen claimed holding voting on the first day of Fiesta will lower voter turnout because Fiesta City opens at 5 p.m., one hour before the polls are set to close.

"I'm a Greek, and I participated in Fiesta last year ... I know how demanding it is, and if you're really serious about this stuff, which a lot of people are, it really absorbs you," Rosen said.

Rosen said overlapping the election and Fiesta violates a clause in the SGA Election Code stating that the commission must prepare "for the efficient and prompt execution of the general election."

But the commission will not change the dates, Election Commissioner Michael Allendorf said.

"The election calendar was presented to the SGA Senate. It was approved, including dates of the runoff election," he said.

Rosen's complaint also attributed low voter turnout in the March 8 and 9 general election to midterm exams and Spring Break, but Allendorf said those might not have been the reasons only 4 percent of students voted.

"The complainant's argument has fallacies and is based on assumptions that can't be proved," Allendorf said. "Turnout could be because of many reasons, such as nonexistent a campaigning ... as well as lack of interest and few contested positions."

Rosen also asked that the commission operate two polling locations in Fiesta City if it did not change the election dates.

"I was a little disappointed. If you look at the ruling, it doesn't even mention putting polling places at Fiesta City," Rosen said. "And that was probably the more feasible of the two things I wanted."

Allendorf said the commission is looking at putting polls at Fiesta City.

"That's definitely a possibility. We're not ruling that out at the moment," he said. "However, we'd have to look into volunteers as well as tap into resources to make it feasible."
 

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