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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Polity Senate Opts for Online Elections

    A lack of money, attempts to increases interest in student elections and Kinkos’#146;sarrival on campus dominated discussion at the Polity Senate meeting last Wed.,April 3. After a week of Spring Break, student leaders found there was plentyto talk about, as debate continued late in to the night.

    On April 1, Kinkos moved on to the Stony Brook Campus with plans to take overthe leases on Polity’#146;s printing and copying equipment.

    This was the first major issue brought to the floor of the Senate. Kinkos isat the university only on a temporary basis, and the bidding processes for amore permanent situation will not begin until April 15. Senators expressed concernthat the uncertainty of the situation could lead to Polity facing financialliability.

    ‘I would like to see that our name is off everything,’ said SenatorGina Fiore.

    Other student leaders asked if Xerox, owner of the equipment, had consentedto the takeover, and if Polity would continue to subsidize the operation. InterimPresident Akelia Lawrence responded by assuring Senators that in any situationresponsibility will now fall to Stony Brook University administration.

    Polity will not subsidize the operation of the printing facilities, and shenoted that prices will likely be the same, or even lower. Lawrence also saidthat Polity would have anywhere from $20,000 to $25,000 left for printing servicesafter the takeover is completed, and that all copying for the upcoming studentelection would be handled by Kinko’#146;s.

    ‘Over the course of the last two semesters there has been a lot of pokeand dagger financial dealing,’ said Senator Jim Driscoll. He requestedthat the Senate receive thorough written reports from Polity Council. Financeswere a primary concern of other senators as well, as the audit funds (moneynot spent last year) have not yet materialized.

    Organizers of the H-Fest, an activity sponsored by Benedict College, appearedbefore the Senate to requests funds for their April 20 event.

    Senators said they had no money to give, and encouraged the group to seek supportfrom the Commuter Student Association and other student clubs and organizations.

    The next issue on the agenda was student elections. The deadline for the validationof petition signatures was moved to April 8, and a motion was made to allowcandidates to begin campaigning once their candidacy has been approved. Thecampaign period will now extend from April 11 to the 26. Whether the actualelection should be conducted over two, three, or four days provoked intensedebate between senators.

    Always facing low voter interest, Polity hopes to raise turnout by having anonline election, and keeping the polls open for an extended period. In additionto making voting more convenient, the online election will allow results tobe calculated and posted soon after the close of the polls.

    A representative from the New York Public Interest Research Group(NYPIRG) cautionedsenators that an extended four-day election may increase risks of someone hackinginto the Internet election program.

    Several senators responded by stating that they believed the benefits far outweighedany risk. Because of the overall low interest, they suggested that tamperingwas unlikely.

    In the end, student senators extended the election to four days, April 23 tothe 26, by a vote of 20 to 9. Polls will close at 5 p.m., and results will beannounced that evening.

    In keeping with Stony Brook’#146;s tradition of having had write-in candidateswin elections, the online election will also include a write-in box.

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