Candidates Flock To Council Elections
As of yesterday’s 5 p.m. filing deadline, 120 candidates had submitted petitions. Last year, 90 candidates filed to run for the 50 seats.
The increased interest has caused certain council races to go from uncontested to very competitive.
With the exception of Dudley, which is allocated one representative, each House is allocated three seats. First-years are split into four districts each with three seats.
Last year no one ran to represent Cabot House. This year, nine candidates will campaign for the House’s three seats. Each of the first-year districts has at least 10 candidates, and only Mather and Dudley Houses are still likely to have uncompetitive races.
“In the past, upper-class elections have been uncompetitive,” council President Paul A. Gusmorino ’02 said.
A campus referendum that slashed the council from 90 to 50 seats last year was intended to foster a more competitive environment.
Before last year, Gusmorino said, many candidates could win simply by filing a petition and asking their friends to vote for them.
From the success of this year’s increased publicity, it now appears that a lack of interest in the council was not the problem. First-years often arrive at the College eager to continue their involvement in student government from high school.
Marisa R. Lee ’05, who is running for a council seat in the first-year North district, cited that as a reason for her initial interest in campaigning for the council: “I’ve always done student government.”
Gusmorino said that, in the past, “there was a real lack of information.” Many of those who might have run for the council simply didn’t know that elections were happening, he said.
Campaigning for the election began at midnight last night. As opposed to the hard limits on campaign spending by candidates running to be officers, council candidates merely have to avoid breaking general Harvard rules, such as those prohibiting spamming. Voting will run from 12:01 a.m. on Sept. 25 to 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 27. Students can vote during this period by typing “ucvote” at the %fas prompt.
Winners will be announced early in the morning on Sept. 28.
For those who want to run for a seat on the council but either failed to submit petitions by yesterday or did not know about the elections, it is still possible to run. Anyone may still campaign, and typically a few members of the council are elected as write-in candidates.