UF Student Senate OKs election code revisions

Published: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 11:05 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 11:05 p.m.

In its opening meeting of the spring semester, the University of Florida Student Senate passed two pieces of legislation and debated a set of revisions to the Student Government election codes.

The bulk of the 90-minute meeting involved members of the Senate reviewing the revisions made by an ad-hoc committee created in response to the controversy surrounding last fall’s Student Government elections.

In response to the issue of students being accidentally placed in the wrong district during the election, committee co-chair Katie Waldman, who represents the agriculture college, stated that the Dean of Students office will be requiring students in the future to update their UF directory information in order to register for classes.

The current electronic voting system places students into districts based on their address listed in the UF directory, which is usually not updated by students, in contrast to students’ emergency contact information, which has to be updated every semester in order to register for classes.

The revisions also include new responsibilities for the supervisor of elections, such as that a contingency plan be in place in case of circumstances that prevent students from voting and that the supervisor has the power to add or change a polling location should a location become unavailable.

While many senators praised the ad-hoc committee on their work, a few took issue with some of the revisions, particularly with codes requiring the advertising of polling locations that were struck from the codes.

“There should be a greater effort made to students about polling locations and elections in general,” said Christina Bonarrigo, who represents district A.

Bonarrigo later praised the revisions and voted for their passage, but stated that she hopes these issues will be resolved when the committee meets again.

“Overall, I think this is a great step forward, and I support it being passed,” Bonarrigo said.

Senator Carly Wilson, who represents district C, came out against the revisions, stating that giving the supervisor of elections the power to create polling locations is an improper delegation of power.

The revisions eventually passed as is. The committee will be meeting Sunday, Jan. 15 to finalize the codes before going before the Senate a second time next Tuesday.

In addition to the revised election codes, the Senate passed a bill requiring senators to fulfill his or her constituency requirements for the previous term in order to run for re-election and a resolution honoring Kaitlin LaBuda, a former student who died in a car accident on Nov. 25.

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