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UC Candidate Numbers Plummet

Concerns over online voting system delays vote until noon today

By Evan M. Vittor, Crimson Staff Writer

This year’s Undergraduate Council election, slated to begin last night at midnight, will feature 65 fewer candidates than last year and will begin 12 hours late.

A record 185 students ran for the 48 spots on the council last year, but this year only 120 students are up for election.

Council president Matthew W. Mahan ’05 speculated that much of the drop off may have been due to a dearth of seniors seeking office this year, but he said that he is not concerned about the smaller numbers.

“It is fewer, but it is still well over 100, which is pretty good and probably the second most ever,” Mahan said.

The council elections were supposed to begin at 12:01 a.m. and run until midnight on Friday, but are being delayed until noon today following concerns from the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences Computer Services (HASCS) about the online voting system.

Jonathan D. Einkauf ’06, the chair of the council’s election commission, said that HASCS wanted to have people in the office when the elections begin and end in case of problems.

“There is a policy that we have to start at noon, and we want to comply with that policy,” Einkauf said.

The conclusion of the voting will also be delayed 12 hours and will conclude at noon on Saturday.

Einkauf said that he hopes to have the results posted later that afternoon.

Two years ago, the close of the elections was delayed by more than two days following problems with the council’s voter authentication system.

Einkauf said one change in election procedure this year is that candidates will now submit a statement of up to 75 words that will be posted next to their names on the voting website, which can be accessed at www.uc.fas.harvard.edu.

While candidates have always submitted these statements, this will be the first year they will be viewable online.

The Harvard College Democrats, the Harvard Republican Club and the Harvard Political Union (HPU) have also made efforts this year to hold candidates accountable for their views on the issues.

HPU sponsored a debate for prospective council representatives in Kirkland House last night that all five of the House’s candidates attended.

While this was the only such debate this year, Mahan said that he hopes to expand these across campus in the future.

“They didn’t have the time or resources to do this across campus, so they wanted to pick one House and use it as a model for next year,” Mahan said.

Last night’s debate was sparsely attended except for a loud contingent of supporters for candidate John K. Minervini ’07.

“I am John Minervini and I am Captain Kirkland,” Minervini said to the roar of his supporters.

While most candidates have played by the rules so far, there have been several campaign violations.

Dunster candidate Jordan C. Jones ’07 has been banned from postering entirely after overwhelming the House with his campaign posters.

“There were just so many posters that even if he took them all down it would still compromise the Dunster election,” Einkauf said.

One notable council representative from Dunster will not be seeking reelection this year.

Aaron S. Byrd ’05, who unsuccessfully ran for council president last winter, said he is not seeking reelection due to a plethora of other activities.

“It basically boiled down to I started a nonprofit last spring and my businesses with school and preparing for the LSATs,” Byrd said.

Matthew J. Glazer ’06, who headed the council’s Student Affairs Committee last year and is running for reelection in Winthrop this year, said that students can also vote on the design of the class ring this year when voting for candidates. The design, he said, is intended to last indefinitely.

—Staff writer Evan M. Vittor can be reached at evittor@fas.harvard.edu.

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