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SGA candidates make final appeals to voters as election arrives

Nearly 100 candidates are running in this fall’s University of Massachusetts Student Government Association election, which will take place Monday and Tuesday. The ballot includes 50 candidates seeking senate seats, 44 applying for spots in local House Councils and one running for a lieutenant governor position.

According to Chancellor of Elections Christopher Faulkner, students can vote either day in the Campus Center from 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. or in any of the dining commons, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.  Students can select senators from their residential area, as well as a House Council of President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer from their dorm cluster.

All of the candidates strongly encourage students to vote, many citing the fact that the SGA controls a budget of two million dollars. Voting for candidates will determine what is or is not done with that money, voiced many.

“It is essential that people vote in this upcoming election. There is an opportunity to elect the leaders of student government and have this organization represent the students,” said Erica Nyer, candidate for a Southwest (north) senate seat. “Students should vote so they have a student body that directly represents the students. These issues affect everyone, and every individual has the power to do something.”

Each residential area is allotted a certain number of senators to represent them in the SGA. Four areas – Central, Northeast, Orchard Hill and Southwest (south) – have competitive races this election. In Orchard Hill, eight candidates are seeking three open senate seats, making it the most competitive SGA senate race. In Central, six candidates are seeking four open seats. Four Northeast students are running for three spots. In Southwest (south), nine students vie for six open senate positions.

Both Southwest (north) and Sylvan have complete ballots, with four and two candidates, respectively.

There are 16 commuter students running for 17 spots. In the North apartments, zero students are on the ballot (there are two senatorial spots). Write-in candidates can win these positions and could potentially win other positions if they collect more votes than students on the ballot.

This year, SGA election planning members has decided to hold House Council elections at the same time as the SGA senate races, something they hope will have a positive effect on the election.

“I think that having House Councils elected alongside Senators will bridge the gap between the different branches of the SGA and will hopefully result in a higher voter turnout because with more candidates comes more people actively mentioning elections and getting their friends, neighbors and supporters to vote,” said Faulkner.

Of the candidates running for President, Vice President, Secretary or Treasurer of their cluster’s House Council, 17 candidates are running unopposed. There are 10 positions that have at least two candidates running, including the entire Webster/Dickinson Cluster in Orchard Hill. Six individuals are applying for President of Webster/Dickinson, with two candidates running in every category.

A Daily Collegian survey of those running for SGA positions revealed that many candidates have similar issues they would like to address if elected. Several candidates discussed their desire for the availability of wireless Internet in all dorms on campus and discussed the parking situation for students. Others said their main focus would be on improving the “transparency and accountability” of the SGA, better allocating funds for students and improving communication between the SGA and the campus body.Another issue that many of the candidates wished to address is already on the ballot this fall in the form of a referendum: Whether or not the SGA voting should be conducted online in an electronic form rather than at polling stations.

“We are one of a handful of campuses in the country without online elections, and I think that the SGA should be ashamed of itself for disenfranchising commuter students,” said Derek Khanna, who said he has been pushing for online voting for three years.

One concern about online voting has been a growing fear that “over-the-shoulder” voting might occur, influencing the vote one way or another in favor of a certain candidate.

A second referendum on the ballot aims to establish a new $1 student fee, which would create a UMass Independent Film Production Club. Such a fee would be similar to the MassPIRG fee currently automatically charged to student’s bursar bills.

An online voting guide for the SGA elections can be found on our website.

Chris Shores can be reached at cshores@dailycollegian.com.

Comments
3 Responses to “SGA candidates make final appeals to voters as election arrives”
  1. Ed Cutting says:

    There is absolutely nothing prohibiting me, a graduate student, from posting this here. I find it newsworthy.

    And to the members of the SGA election commission, I was quite serious about the potential consequences of what you were doing. Either charge him with forgery or put him on the ballot, simply not letting him run because you don’t like him jeopardizes the legitimacy of your very organization.

    And folks, it is called “prior restraint censorship” and anywhere other than at Planet UMass, folks would be screaming about it. You simply can not require that people get the permission of a government bureaucrat prior to speaking. You simply can not regulate content of speech. What part of “no law” do you not understand????

    ——–
    AN URGENT MESSAGE FROM THE COMMITTEE TO ELECT BRAD DEFLUMERI SENATOR FOR SYLVAN

    “The liberties of our country, the freedoms of our civil Constitution are worth defending at all hazards; it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors. They purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood.
    It will bring a mark of everlasting infamy on the present generation – enlightened as it is – if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of designing men.” -Samuel Adams

    “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” -Thomas Jefferson

    Dear Friends,

    Would the Founding Fathers cited above recognize America if they spent a day at UMass Amherst? We answer an emphatic “no.”

    Liberty and rights for students at UMass Amherst have long been NONEXISTENT.

    Our administration has empowered the UMass Police Department to defecate all over the 4th and 14th Amdendments while hiding behind a badge.

    Our student government ‘leaders’ have elevated the needs and concerns of a select few students over those of a vast majority of their constituents, going so far as to put, in writing, in place a rule that mandates that 13% of all Student Senate seats get APPOINTED to students on the basis of race.

    Here at UMass, the same destructive forces who disingenuously invoke the bloody name of “racism” perpetuate their own myths — and satisfy their own delusional self-importance — by ensuring that racism is indeed alive and well on campus — and mandated by a statistically definable and codified quota.

    So much for the equal protection of the laws promised by the framers of the 14th Amendment shortly after the Civil War.

    Here at UMass, instead of “equal protection of the laws,” we
    get “disproportionate discrimination mandated by law.”

    The SGA BY-LAWS that is. Title II Chapter 3 Section 2 reads:

    “The ALANA [African American, Latino, Asian American, and Native American] Caucus shall be apportioned a number of Senate seats equal to thirteen percent (13%) of the total of those seats apportioned to the Electoral Districts, and the Charter of the ALANA Caucus shall provide for the appointment and removal of SGA members to said seats in a manner consistent with the By-laws of the SGA and prescribed by the Charter of the ALANA Caucus.”

    Is raced-based electoral apportionment something that YOU support? If it is, then please don’t vote for me.

    Would you support 13% of all U.S. Congressional seats being apportioned based on race? Of course any reasonable person who looks beyond the color of one’s skin to the content of their character would vehemently oppose such RACIST PRACTICES — in the United States Congress and right here at UMass Amherst, where such practices have become institutonalized.

    Moving on:

    The above-two quotes from our Founding Fathers embody what our grass-roots movement of concerned students is all about: electing a liberty-loving patriot to serve the residents of Sylvan and simulaltaneously demanding — and placing — a check on our student leaders and our administration, who for far-too long have abused their authority and the public trust and hurt the interests of the
    average students.

    BRAD DEFLUMERI WILL TAKE THE STUDENT SENATE BY STORM — AND BY INTELLECTUAL FORCE AS NECESSARY — AND ENSURE THAT YOUR RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES ARE PROTECTED IN A MANNER THAT WOULD MAKE FOUNDING FATHERS JEFFERSON AND ADAMS PROUD.

    The demand for additional campaign updates from our supporters has been overwhelming. Victory is a mere two days away, and now is the time to mobilize the vote for liberty, and forever IMPROVE our STUDENT GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION.

    Accordingly, we are enclosing Senate-Candidate Brad DeFlumeri’s most recently approved election platform. We remind you that voting is only a few hours away and your rights as students at UMass Amherst have never been more in peril.

    Please write in Brad DeFlumeri as your SENATOR FROM *SYLVAN* MONDAY AND TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 28TH AND 29TH.

    Not voting for Mr. DeFlumeri is a vote in favor of the same corrupt,
    pernicious, and destructive forces that have turned the Student Government Association (SGA) at UMass Amherst into a degenerate political machine: at once both wasting your money and scoffing at any attempts to scrutinize its actions.

    Mr. DeFlumeri has laid out in the attachment a ten-point plan to restore order, demand accountability, and legitimately advance the interests of his fellow students in the Student Government Association.

    And this is precisely why it is crucial that you forward the attachment to friends and colleagues who live in SYLVAN RESIDENTIAL AREA in the hope that they, too, will vote for extending their liberty and protecting their rights as students by WRITING IN BRAD DEFLUMERI AS SENATOR FOR SYLVAN.

    WE STAND FOR THE PROTECTION OF YOUR RIGHTS AS STUDENTS AND AS A CHECK ON THE ADMINISTRATION and THE SGA WHEN THEY SEEK TO CURTAIL THESE RIGHTS.

    WE STAND FOR LIBERTY.

    Sincerely,

    THE COMMITTE TO ELECT BRAD DEFLUMERI

    **********************************************************

    THIS MESSAGE WAS DISTRIBUTED BY THE COMMITTEE TO ELECT BRAD DEFLUMERI SENATOR FOR SYLVAN, A CONCERNED GROUP OF NON-PARTISAN STUDENT-TAXPAYERS COMMMITTED TO EXTENDING LIBERTY AND REPELLING TYRANNY AT EVERY LEVEL OF SOCIETY AND GOVERNMENT

    **********************************************************

    THE CONTENT OF THIS MESSAGE, AND ALL ATTACHMENTS FOUND THEREIN, WERE APPROVED BY BRAD DEFLUMERI, A UMASS AMHERST UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT SEEKING WRITE-IN VOTES AND ELECTION TO THE OFFICE OF STUDENT SENATOR FROM SYLVAN RESIDENTIAL AREA

  2. Ed Cutting says:

    Our administration has empowered the UMass Police Department to defecate all over the 4th and 14th Amdendments….

    It actually is the Eighth Amendment that they really have problems with. More than many on this campus realize….

  3. Sam says:

    ““We are one of a handful of campuses in the country without online elections, and I think that the SGA should be ashamed of itself for disenfranchising commuter students,” said Derek Khanna, who said he has been pushing for online voting for three years.

    One concern about online voting has been a growing fear that “over-the-shoulder” voting might occur, influencing the vote one way or another in favor of a certain candidate.”

    If you’re going to that influenced by an “over-the-shoulder” vote than read your code of conduct II.B.1(“Harassment”)*. According to the Daily Collegian last year, voter turnout among students was 1752 students** out of 20539 total students enrolled or approximately 8.5%. According to an academic paper, “schools that do not have online voting would increase their turn-out over 4% on average if they adopted this means of voting.”*** which means a voter turnout increase of almost 50% at UMass. If there are still concerns over security, the Director of the Center for Educational Software Development says it best: “…in which he touches on the issue of online elections but also makes some unsubstantiated claims about the OWL system being unreliable and insecure. These claims are not true. “****
    * – http://www.umass.edu/dean_students/codeofconduct/studentcode/
    ** – http://www.dailycollegian.com/editorial-opinion/until-elections-are-online-elections-are-a-joke-1.1604564
    *** – http://www.google.com/search?q=%22Voter+Turnout+in+Undergraduate+Student+Government+Elections%22
    **** – http://www.dailycollegian.com/editorial-opinion/letters-to-the-editor-4-22-09-1.1728781

    My opinion: Making it difficult for voters to vote in the first place is a far bigger issue. If elections are held online, I can actually use the guide the Daily Collegian provides in making a somewhat educated decision and not have to go out of my way to vote. If there are no security concerns, UMass students are held to a code of conduct, online voting makes voting easier and increases voter turnout, than why not?

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