After a short delay, the complete results of the Associated Students Spring Election are in, with Students’ Party and the Open People’s Party sharing the A.S. Legislative Council with 12 seats each.
The election officially ended last Thursday, but winners of the A.S. Leg Council positions of on-campus, off-campus and university-owned housing representatives were not posted until Friday at 12 p.m., due to a hand recount of the results. Students’ Party and the Open People’s Party will have an equal number of seats on the 24-member council. Last year, a total of 17 SP candidates were elected, leaving six seats for OPP.
With the executive officer positions included in the count, OPP and SP representatives are still split down the middle, as OPP garnered the presidential and internal vice presidential seats with Stephanie Brower and Ian Taylor, and SP took the two external vice presidential offices with Lindsey Quock and Christine Byon.
Student voters elected seven off-campus reps and two on-campus reps for OPP, as well as the three reps-at-large previously posted. SP holds seats for five off-campus reps, three on-campus reps and one university-owned housing rep, in addition to the three reps-at-large announced Thursday.
A.S. Adviser Pam Van Dyk said results were delayed due to problems with the online ballot. The ballot allowed students to vote for on- and off-campus positions as well as university-owned housing representatives regardless of where the students actually reside. While it was noted on the ballot that students could only vote in one area or their votes in that section would be invalidated, the ballot did not block students from voting in all three areas.
A total of 725 students voted in two or three sections. These students’ votes were not counted for any of the three representative sections, but their selections for the executive positions, reps-at-large, and lock-in fees were still valid.
Van Dyk said this problem will be resolved next year by implementing a branching system on the ballot, which will cost roughly $3,500 – an expense A.S. chose to forgo this election. The branching method will make students select the location where they live and only the candidates in that section will be available.
“It’s costly,” Van Dyk said. “We didn’t have the Students’ Initiative at the time we chose the ballot, but with it next year, there will be funding to allow branching.”
In addition, Van Dyk said the results were delayed due to miscommunication and technical difficulties with Votenet, the company in charge of the ballots. She said the company failed to deliver results for the remaining 18 positions until Friday morning, and A.S. delayed the announcement further to verify the vote tallies.
Several candidates said they found the wait nerve-wracking and were disappointed with the problems resulting from the online ballot.
OPP’s Narain Kumar lost by three votes for the position of on-campus rep and said he hoped the system would be fixed next year to ensure that all votes are official.
“It’s easy to fix these hanging-chad issues” Kumar, a second-year global studies and political science major said. “It’s sad it happened; next year we’ll work hard to make sure people don’t get invalidated.”
SP’s Paulina Abustan won one of the five on-campus rep positions with 233 votes and said she was excited to work on the council in the upcoming year.
“Things are going to happen next year, I can feel it,” Abustan, a first-year music major said. “I want to boost voter turnout in all elections and get everyone more active in the school.”