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Senate election results in limbo

Twenty-two students out of 62 candidates were elected in an effort to fill 25 vacant seats in the Student Government senate Wednesday night. However, some may not keep their positions.

SG adviser Gary Manka said he received complaints that there were candidates who went over the $100 campaign budget that all candidates are allotted, according to SG statutes.

“Just because they won the election doesn’t mean they’re going to be seated if they broke the rule,” Manka said.

SG senate President Jennifer Belmont said in an e-mail that it is too soon to tell whether any candidates went over their campaign budget.

“First, many have received discounts from vendors/businesses in order to get their materials and have not gone over budget,” Belmont said. “Secondly, not all receipts have been turned in yet.”

Candidates have until Friday at 4 p.m. to submit all receipts showing any spending in their campaigns, Belmont said. However, some will not have to submit receipts because they used only free resources like Facebook and SG printing services for their campaigns, she said.

If candidates went over their budget and are disqualified from the election, the senatorial candidate with the next highest votes will be seated instead, Belmont said.

“If there are no candidates left to be seated, the seat(s) will remain open,” she said.

Belmont said the results are still unofficial because there were a few votes that came in close to 7 p.m. Wednesday and were not counted by the automated voting system SG uses.

The election was held to fill a number of vacant seats in the following colleges: seven in the College of Arts and Sciences, two in the College of Business, five in the College of Education, three in the College of Engineering, three in the College of the Arts, one in the College of Public Health, three in the College of Nursing and one in the College of Medicine.

A runoff election will also be held to determine whether candidates Curtis Neumann or Varun Vasudeo, tied with 72 votes, will fulfill one seat in the College of Engineering. The time of the runoff has not been decided.

All of the seats available for every college were filled except for the College of Nursing, which will only have one of three vacant seats filled, Belmont said.

In the past, nursing students haven’t responded as heavily as students from other colleges, Belmont said.

Belmont said the only way for those empty seats to be filled in the College of Nursing is by an election called by the Election Rules Commission (ERC) or in the next general election.

The general election is held to elect senators, a student body president and a vice president each spring semester, according to SG statutes.

On Wednesday, USF Information Technology (IT) had to fix a problem for a couple of hours on Blackboard, but IT isn’t sure if it affected voting, said Dennis Walpole, director of Educational Technologies for IT.

Walpole said he did not find a problem with the voting system.

“I called the voting software companies person and he said there wasn’t a problem with it,” Walpole said. “I don’t think it was necessarily a problem. I think it may have just been a student that may not be in the system and for whatever reason it didn’t let him in.”

Walpole said the only involvement the IT department had in the voting system was providing the link on Blackboard that directed students to the voting site when they clicked on it.

Students were able to vote on Blackboard on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“Since voting is over a two-day period, that doesn’t keep someone from being able to vote, it just keeps them from being able to vote at the time they wanted to vote,” Walpole said.

Additional reporting by Anastasia Dawson