Empty UA Senate seats filled by new elections or presidential appointments

Empty UA Senate seats filled by new elections or presidential appointments

The UA Senate has seen several empty seats lately, and not because of students sleeping in. Several seats were never filled because nobody ran in UA elections or there was no clear winner. Other seats were vacated after senators resigned.

No candidate won a plurality in the McCormick, New House, or fraternity elections, but those seats were filled in runoff elections.

It is the responsibility of each living group to fill its vacant seats after elections. Vacancies in Baker, Bexley, and ILG seats will be filled by senators appointed by those groups’ presidents, said UA President Allan E. Miramonti ’13. The seats vacated by resignations in Simmons and MacGregor, in addition to a second seat in Next House, were filled in subsequent elections. New House still has only one senator, though it is allotted two spots.

“It’s a matter of finding interest,” said Miramonti. “It’s better to have an empty seat than someone who doesn’t want to be there.” McCormick was allotted two senate positions last year, but population shifts have led to it only having one representative.

There were also problems with the election system itself. Hollie O’Brien ’15, former Simmons senator, was nominated — jokingly, she said — as a write-in candidate, a fact unknown to her until she won the election. “I just didn’t have time for it,” said O’Brien, who was surprised by her election and frustrated that the senate meeting was only one week after she found out. “I would’ve liked to know that I was at least in the running.”

To fix such problems and improve elections overall, Miramonti said that the UA is currently working on its Election Code to “revamp the way [they] do elections.” He said that the current voting system is “based on outdated technology,” and that the voting website “looked like a bad Geocities page.”

The voting system will be getting a “visual facelift” and improved mechanics, hopefully by the spring elections, according to Miramonti. This will allow the UA to have more flexibility with the election process, including possible notifications to write-in candidates of their nomination, which would prevent situations such as the one O’Brien found herself in.

—Bruno B. F. Faviero