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Elections offer students more options

Other than choosing their next president and vice president, students can also vote this year on the grade point average and credit hours of Student Government (SG) representatives.That’s one addition to the ballot students will vote on in this year’s SG elections from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. The ballot also includes the number of senator seats for a student’s respective college, constitutional amendments and an “Our Shirt” design.”Students can give feedbackon how many credit hours, GPA, or – for graduate students – how many credit hours they should have,” said Michael LeBlanc, supervisor of SG’s Election Rules Commission.LeBlanc said the question was formed at the request of Gary Manka, director of SG.LeBlanc said issues with the voting system have also been resolved. When students voted via the election Web site off campus last year, their votes were not recognized because of faulty IP addresses.LeBlanc was unable to disclose how SG fixed the system.”Last year, we didn’t know there would be problems with IP address at off-campus housing,” LeBlanc said. “This year, we knew that problem and we, hopefully, addressed it.”This year, students have a new “none of the above” option when voting.”Last year, that was a big concern,” LeBlanc said. “People didn’t want to vote on some things.”But this option will not apply to constitutional amendments, which must be voted on as a whole.”You’ll probably hear a lot of complaints on this,” LeBlanc said. “All of the amendments are all together. So it’s either a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on all of it. It’s something that the (SG) senate wanted.”Michael Keene, SG chairman of the senate’s Committee on Rules, said he is unsure how he feels about not giving students the ability to vote on amendmentsseparately.”I can see the benefits and the drawbacks,” he said. “With some of the amendments, you can’t have one without the other, but I can see where it would be nice to give the power to say, ‘I like this one, but not this one.'”These are the six amendments added to the ballot:- Amendment one: If there should ever be a conflict between the student body constitution and statutes, the constitution will prevail.- Amendment two:In a conflict between an amendment to the constitution and the prior standing article, the amendment will prevail.- Amendment three: If the supreme court has final judiciary authority over an issue in SG, that issue may be appealed.- Amendment four: The executive branch will also consist of an attorney generaland chief financial officer appointed by the SG president and confirmed by the SG senate.- Amendment five: While bureaus of SG are part of the executive branch, its directors will be appointed by the Division of Student Affairs or their respective USF administrator.- Amendment six: The timeline for all elections will be outlined in statutes.According to its Web site, the Our Shirt has been the official gameday shirt for the past three years, and for the first time, students can vote on two design options decided on by a task forceJasmine Fowlkes, SG director of Marketing and Communications and member of the Our Shirt task force, said she pushed for this to be offered to students.”We’ve always wanted a survey,” she said. “Every year students say, ‘I like this aspect of the shirt but I don’t like this,’ or ‘the shirt is kind of ugly this year, but I’m going to buy it anyways because it’s the gameday shirt.'”Though student input will be considered, Fowlkes said the task force has the final say on which shirt design will be chosen.Fowlkes said she hopes students will vote on shirt designs every year.Skylar Poltez, a sophomore majoring in elementaryeducation, said the inclusion of the Our Shirt design on the ballot indicates SG is taking a step toward student involvement.”I think it’s a great idea that we can decide because it is our shirt,” she said. “It’s great that they’re getting us more involved.”Students can vote online at sg.usf.edu/vote or at campuspolling stations: Andros, Argos and Juniper-Poplar housing complexes; Cooper Hall, the Library Commons, College of Engineering, College of Business, College of Nursing, College of Public Health Lab, Marshall Student Center and Greek Village.