Ballots Left Unsecured in Council Office

Completed ballots from this week's Undergraduate Council referendum on the $10 term bill hike and four other issues were found unsecured in the council's office early yesterday morning.

The Crimson observed a box containing the completed ballots on a desk next to envelopes full of blank ballots at about 12:30 a.m. yesterday.

The possibility of ballot stuffing or tampering could force the council to invalidate some of the votes cast Monday, according to Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III.

All council members have keys to the office and would have been able to stuff the box, charged Anjalee C. Davis '96, a former council member who is helping run the referendum.

"The ballot box is made of cardboard and taped at the bottom, so ballot replacement would not have been difficult," said Davis, whose petition drive led to the College-wide referendum.

Completed ballots were moved yesterday to Epps' office, but still may not be counted in the final tally, according to the dean and council President Carey W. Gaby '94.

The council voided a referendum solely on the fee hike last month because of numerous improprieties, which included charges that ballots were left unattended in the council office.

But council members, Davis and Epps said that they do not expect the entire referendum to be invalidated again.

Council Secretary Brandon C. Gregoire '95 called The Crimson late last night and threatened to Ad Board Davis, this reporter and a Crimson photographer who entered the council office, as well as the managing editor, if this story appeared today.

"I'm telling you you're not authorized to be in this office--that's trespassing," Gregoire said. "I'm not bull shitting. You will be Ad Boarded--Anjalee, your reporter and your fucking photographer."

During the first referendum, the council placed ballots in a locked box only after the second day of voting, Vice President Joshua D. Liston '95 said in late April. Epps said ballots from yesterday's and today's rounds of voting will be placed in the rooms of first-year proctors.

And Epps said that since the ballots from each day's voting will be counted separately, the council could "compare to see if there's a radically different trend." If tampering seems possible, the dean said he might consult statisticians.

The council will also be able to check forballot stuffing by comparing the number ofcompleted ballots to the number of students whowere recorded as having voted in the houses.

But Epps said that even if there arediscrepancies in the numbers, he would recommendto invalidate only the first day of voting.

"We should try to do what we can to save thisreferendum," said Epps, adding that proceduralimprovements have allowed this second referendumto run more smoothly.