The votes are half in.
Day one of GW’s first-ever online Student Association election went smoothly despite a few snags, pollsters reported Wednesday. At least three voting stations went down for a total of three hours, and the GW Law School ran out of paper ballots twice throughout the day.
Joint Elections Committee officials, who monitor the elections, said they have not tabulated who is ahead in the races. Winners will be announced at about midnight Thursday at J Street.
With 1,176 students voting in the SA race so far, the only standout has been the Law School vote. JEC members said 183 students filled out ballots at the Law School polling station – more than three times last year’s turnout of 50. The Student Bar Association endorsed SA presidential candidate Phil Robinson.
Robinson will answer for more campaign violations Friday for a student group press release the GWBlitz posted on its Web site.
The Out Crowd, a newly formed gay pride group, sent a release that supported Robinson and criticized presidential candidate Josh Singer in a way he claimed was “unfair,” which the GWBlitz posted Sunday. An unknown person then e-mailed the article to selected student groups, for which Singer’s campaign manager filed complaints.
The incidents could lead to more violations for Robinson, who said he had no involvement with the release. If Robinson gets five more points, he could be removed from the race after a poster violation last week resulted in three points.
“I personally don’t think I’m going to get any points,” Robinson said, adding he did not know about the endorsement. He is scheduled to attend a JEC hearing Friday.
Glitches occurred at the Marvin Center for the first 30 minutes of voting at 9 a.m., although nobody showed up to vote during that time, JEC officials said. The Mount Vernon Campus station experienced problems for more than a half hour, and Ross Hall computers experienced problems twice that prohibited online voting for a total of about two hours, JEC officials said. Despite the problems, students said they had little trouble voting and experienced short lines.
“They came in droves,” said sophomore Kim Kapaczewski, a poll watcher at the Law School. “After classes, they got out and came in groups of five and 10, but everything ran smooth.”
Junior Chris Darmanin, who stood at the Marvin Center station in the basement computer lab since 2 p.m., said at one point 25 students were voting at the same time. He said the only problems came from people wanting to use the lab for academic work.
Sophomore Courtney LaJeunesse said voting was easy and “only took a few minutes.”
“If you don’t vote, you kind of don’t have the right to complain about things on campus,” she said.
Candidates campaigned all over campus at the six voting locations, including the Mount Vernon Campus.
All three SA presidential candidates said they are going to most of their classes, saying they do not want the election to interfere much with their academics.
“The election is going well,” presidential candidate Dani Greenspan said. “It looks like we’re going to have a decent turnout.”
Students involved in last year’s election said this week shows a marked improvement over the normally politically-charged elections.
“I think this year seems less competitive,” said senior Josh Konecni, a member of last year’s JEC. “It seems like the election is a lot friendlier.”
But Robinson said he feels other candidates are “plotting against” him.
“I could have written up four (violations) but that’s not what this election is about, it’s not what students want,” Robinson said.
Singer denied involvement in any plot, but said he has been working closely with the Greenspan campaign because they have “similar issues.”
This article appeared in the February 28, 2002 issue of the Hatchet.