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Charges Mishandling in VP Election

By Marios V. Broustas

An Undergraduate Council member charged last week that the recent council vice-presidential election was mishandled.

In a letter to Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III, Robert C. Zamacona '95, council vote counter for the vice-presidential election, charged that four absentee ballots were not counted in the second-round run-off election.

The extra votes, which were all cast for Rene Reyes '95, would have given him the victory over Melissa Garza '94, who had won the seat with 36 votes--two more than Reyes.

Zamacona, who is Reyes' roommate, had been appointed "vote-teller" for the election.

Prior to the general elections, more than two-thirds of the council voted to accept all pertinent absentee ballots.

Chair of the Council Elections R. Gin Lo '95 decided not to count the four absentee ballots in the subsequent vice-presidential run-off election.

The October 17 run-off election was held between Garza and Reyes after the initial vice-presidential election resulted in Reyes' earning a plurality of the votes. Council procedure requires a majority to elect the vice president.

After receiving Zamacona's letter, Epps met separately with Lo, Garza, Reyes, Council President Carey W. Gabey '94 and Council Student Parliamentarian David A. Smith '94.

"This is a problem the council must resolve, and it would not be appropriate for me to comment on it," said Epps in a phone interview last night. "I recommended that they consult the faculty parliamentarian who could give them professional advice."

Reyes said yesterday he was upset that Epps discussed Zamacona's letter with Lo, Gabay, Garza and Smith before meeting with Reyes himself.

"I did not get the impression that [Epps] was being impartial," said Reyes. "He did not seem to be eager to facilitate the process or get things done."

Reyes said Epps told him not to bring up the issue before the council's executive board meeting last week.

The council has yet to discuss the alleged improprieties, said former vice-presidential candidate John A. Mann '92-'94.

"We're looking into it," Gabay said yesterday.

Garza refused to comment and Lo was not available for comment.

"I would say precedent is on [Reyes'] side," said former Council Chair Evan B. Rauch '91 last night, "and logic is on his side too."

"If you are going to count [the ballots] in the first round, then I see no reason why you shouldn't count them in the second round," Rauch said.

"Since [Reyes] was elected treasurer, he might want to do the statesman-like thing and let it go," Rauch added.

Mann supported Lo's decision not to count the absentee ballots in the run-off election, but he said, "Technically, it probably should have gone to vote."

"I wouldn't mind running for the whole thing again," Mann added.

"Because Garza has held the position for two weeks, people are going to be reluctant to tell her to step down," Reyes said. "If the council is more concerned with their image than with righting wrong, something is wrong here."

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