Archive for February, 2010

[UPDATED] As Usual, the Election’s Not Over Yet…

Posted in elections, Rules on February 25, 2010 by Brandon

UPDATE: Uh, I’m a moron who can’t do math. I mixed up two numbers and drew a faulty conclusion about the Boca governor’s race from it — namely, that there might be a run-off for that as well. Somehow I got it in my head that both candidates had less than 50%, which is obviously impossible with two candidates. The entry’s been corrected.

One round of voting never seems to be enough at FAU. Odds are there’s going to be a run-off election for the presidential race. The reason is laid out in statute:

317.300 The Student Body President, Vice President, and Governor’s Offices must be won by simple majority vote of fifty (50) percent (50%) plus one (1) vote of all votes cast in an election.

And these are the unofficial results:

Presidential race

  • Collene O’Reilly and Chuck Forbes – 643 votes (45%)
  • Ayden Maher and Evan Konecky – 536 votes (37.51%)
  • Adam Epstein and Ryan Ebanks – 250 votes (17.49%)

Boca Governor

  • Allison Gentry – 601 votes (58.92%)
  • Boris Bastidas – 420 votes (41.08%)

The other races (House of Reps and other campus governors), which weren’t competitive to start with, are obviously decided. And the Boca governor race is unofficially over, unless a contestation leads to disqualification. But the presidential race is still in the air, and most likely will continue to a run-off election. However, contestations could decide things instead, since one thing the Election Board can do with just cause is this:

318.820 Remov[e] votes, which may or may not [a]ffect the outcome of an election, but only in cases where there is concrete, documented evidence of voter fraud with an exact number of defrauded votes found.

If enough votes get removed to put someone over 50%, then a run-off is unnecessary. But if that doesn’t happen, things might not be over until mid-March at the latest. The contestation period will eat up at least next week, and a run-off election cannot be held during Spring Break according to the election rules.

Contestations can be submitted by any student to Election Chair Freddy Moldt or your campus SG adviser by tomorrow, Feb. 25 at 5 p.m. If you saw something odd or against the rules happen during the election, report it. The form linked on the election Web site is here, although it’s still the Fall ’09 version and the deadline listed on it is wrong. You can refer to the contestation procedures here, in Chapter 318.

Oh, and the overall turnout? 1,429 votes. That’s only 5.33% of eligible voters, the lowest turnout in — well, I’ll have to check, but in recent memory, certainly. Maybe we can do better in a run-off, but usually fewer people vote in those.

[UPDATED] Dalai Lama Tickets Available in SG This Morning

Posted in Uncategorized on February 23, 2010 by Brandon

UPDATE: They’re all gone now.

If you were trying to get a ticket in the Dalai Lama lottery and missed out, SG is giving out a “limited number of tickets” this morning. The announcement went out late last night:

On Tuesday, Feb. 23, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., a limited number of tickets to see the Dalai Lama in the FAU Arena will be available in the Student Government office on the Boca Raton campus (room 215, Student Union).  Tickets will be distributed on a first come, first served basis until they are all given out. Students must show their OWL CARD in order to receive a ticket. One ticket per FAU student will be given out. These tickets cannot be reserved or held if you cannot pick them up on Tuesday; they have to be picked up between the designated hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Dalai Lama’s public address will begin promptly at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24, in the FAU Arena on the Boca Raton campus. Only those who have tickets will be admitted to the Arena. Audience members must arrive early because the doors will close at 9:30 a.m.

For more information regarding the availability of tickets, call the Student Government office at 561-297-3740. For more information about the event itself and the Dalai Lama, go to http://www.fau.edu/peaceweek/

This message has been distributed on behalf of Student Government.

Don’t forget your Owl Card, and try to get there before 10 to make sure you’ve got a place in line — if there is a line.

On Tuesday, Feb. 23, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., a limited number of tickets to see the Dalai Lama in the FAU Arena will be available in the Student Government office on the Boca Raton campus (room 215, Student Union).  Tickets will be distributed on a first come, first served basis until they are all given out. Students must show their OWL CARD in order to receive a ticket. One ticket per FAU student will be given out. These tickets cannot be reserved or held if you cannot pick them up on Tuesday; they have to be picked up between the designated hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Dalai Lama’s public address will begin promptly at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24, in the FAU Arena on the Boca Raton campus. Only those who have tickets will be admitted to the Arena. Audience members must arrive early because the doors will close at 9:30 a.m.

For more information regarding the availability of tickets, call the Student Government office at 561-297-3740. For more information about the event itself and the Dalai Lama, go to http://www.fau.edu/peaceweek/

This message has been distributed on behalf of Student Government.

Election videos, charts, and miscellany

Posted in elections on February 22, 2010 by Brandon

Voting

Firstly and most importantly, a reminder: voting starts at midnight tonight. You can vote anytime Tuesday, Feb. 23 through Wednesday, Feb. 24. Just log into your MyFAU account and look for the “Vote Now” tab along the top. SG also provides physical polling locations, which are listed in the infographic below.

Debates

Last Thursday’s debate went pretty well — probably just under 100 people in attendance, and lots of good questions from the audience. We did have some minor technical issues with microphones, and, well, off-site candidate Adam Epstein.

Owl TV, which filmed the whole thing, has been faithfully rebroadcasting it since Friday. They also provided me with a DVD copy which I didn’t know about until 10 minutes ago — they left it in the office and nobody told me. But I’ll be watching it and if I have time, I’ll put together a transcript since someone asked for one in comments. Owl TV is also working with the UP to put together a “highlights” video which Owl TV Station Manager Garrett Astler says should be ready sometime today. When it is, I’ll link it here.

UP Business Manager Tyler Krome, who sat through the debate and tried to make the most of it, put together the neat and somewhat humorous infographic of election buzzwords you see at left. Click it for the full, readable size.

Election videos

Owl TV also offered to film video statements from the candidates. Everyone recorded one except for Boca Governor candidate Allison Gentry, who also did not submit a written statement to the UP — a criticism raised by her opponent Boris Bastidas at the debate. You can check those out on their Facebook page. Alternatively, here are direct links, though I’m not sure how well they’ll work:

Adam Epstein and Ryan Ebanks
Ayden Maher and Evan Konecky
Collene O’Reilly and Chuck Forbes

Boris Bastidas

I’d encourage you to watch these and also to look at their statements in the UP if you missed them. (Search “In their own words” to jump to the right section, two-thirds down the page.)

Of course, while most of the candidates are doing their best to make sure their names and ideas are known to students, UP TV reporter Sloane Davis and producer Kat Herisse show there are still a lot of students who haven’t heard much yet. You can check out their work here or watch the video below. I’m sure they’d love your comments too, since they’ve just restarted the UP TV project after the previous team left it dead for several months.

Election Math

The number to beat this year is 2246. This is the number of students who voted in the presidential election last year.  According to figures provided by the people on campus who keep track of such things, enrollment for Spring 09 was at 27,021, which means 8.31% of students voted. (To get that same percentage this semester, we’d need 2303 voters, so maybe that’s a better target.) Make it happen!

That’s all for now, folks. Happy voting.

Debates tomorrow — 3 to 6!

Posted in elections on February 17, 2010 by Brandon

My cover story out this week will introduce you to the competitive races in the election this semester. That’s unfortunately only the race for president and vice president, and the Boca governor seat.

There’s a write-up about the candidates for those spots, along with what specific plans they were willing — or able — to outlay at this point. It also features an unedited statement from each of the tickets or governor candidates who submitted one.

It’s perhaps worth noting that I extended the same offer to the candidates for governor on the other campuses, even though their races are uncompetitive. None of them responded, though.

I’m hoping the debates tomorrow will help folks in their decision-making. Like last year, I’ll be co-moderating with former UP editor Michele Boyet. There will be a Q&A period for students to ask their own questions, although our time constraints may mean not everyone will have time to ask. (It turned out impossible to completely align the schedules of everyone involved.)

However, the schedule does include a meet/greet/eat period ahead of the debates, where you might be able to talk one-on-one with the candidates. They’re also sure to be campaigning hard in the Breezeway next week. Another option is to e-mail your questions to me or post them in comments. But again, I can’t guarantee any given question will get squeezed in.

Owl TV will be recording the debate, so if you’re in class or otherwise busy you’ll get a chance to see what the candidates say. Owl Radio will also be rebroadcasting  the audio on Friday.

If you can make it out, though, we’ll be in the Grand Palm Room of the Boca Student Union from 3 to 6 p.m. Here’s how the planned schedule breaks down:

  • 3:00 – 3:30 p.m. : Boca Governor meet and greet (free food!)
  • 3:30 – 4:00 p.m. : Boca Governor debate
  • 4:00 – 4:30 p.m. : Presidential meet and greet
  • 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. : Presidential debate

Roughly the last ten minutes of the governor debate and the last half hour of the presidential debate will be for student questions. Hope you can make it. Voting’s next week on Tuesday and Wednesday — but of course I’ll post a separate reminder about that when the time is closer.

A brief update

Posted in blog-related, elections on February 8, 2010 by Brandon

I’m busy coordinating quite a few things at the moment, but I wanted to mention a few things.

Firstly, Alex van Mecl has withdrawn his candidacy for governor. This means that only the presidential, vice presidential, and Boca governor seats remain competitive. (I updated the election graphic below to reflect this on Friday and am just mentioning this belatedly.)

Second, details for the debates will hopefully be finalized by tomorrow afternoon. I should be able to post those on Wednesday.

Also, since someone was asking in the comments about when we will have hammocks on campus last week, I’ll share the update about this from the House meeting Friday. “Hammock Discovery Committee” chair Nona Smatrakaleva said she’s currently looking at sites:

  • “between the General [Classroom] South (GS) and Sanson Life [Science] (SC) buildings,” meaning, I suppose, the quad adjacent to the Breezeway.
  • “Heritage Park [Towers],” and I’m not sure where exactly this means.
  • “Next to Live Oak [Pavilion].”

You can access a campus map with these locations here. No word yet on when the hammocks will be installed, although she did say there would be only one at each location at first, with more to come later.

Go Saints Owls!

SG Quote of the Week

Posted in Legislation, quote on February 5, 2010 by Brandon

Just as a reminder, everyone who sponsors this bill will receive their name on the bench also.

House Speaker Alan Pollock, at the Feb. 5 Boca House meeting, prior to a vote on the “Benched” bill which will fund a 6-foot long bench in the Breezeway. Not to mention a pretty little plaque with, it seems, about two dozen SG names on it — directly after Pollock’s statement, over a dozen people raised their hands to be added to the bill which already had 14 sponsors. The bill passed unanimously.

To offer a little perspective, many bills (legislation that allocates money) only have one sponsor. Resolutions (legislation that does not involve money) usually have more sponsors. However, there’s a noticeable trend in sponsorship for bills that directly benefit SG, such as the “Comprehensive Marketing Plan” bill currently being considered, which might fund:

  • engraved SG name badges…
  • SG sweatshirts…
  • SG polo shirts…
  • “…and/or any other marketing/promotion/advertising items.”

This bill currently has 12 sponsors — and they haven’t decided how much it will even cost yet.

Compare this to the “Student Juried Art Exhibit” bill. Raised at the same meeting, it was meant to fund an annual campus art exhibit featuring student work. It has one sponsor. And it was tabled at the meeting to be discussed at a future date.

I don’t want to over-generalize or dismiss context, however; there’s a legitimate question about the legality of funding the (poorly written) latter bill which will be discussed in committees and hopefully addressed in the next meeting.

When I have time, I’ll look at a more fair (i.e. larger) sampling of legislation, which should offer more perspective.

Hello, Campaign Season

Posted in elections on February 4, 2010 by Brandon

Above (click for a more legible size) are the candidates for this semester’s election, and I expect you’ll be hearing their names more than you care to in the coming weeks. As you can see, we have competitive races at the presidential level and in both Boca and Broward at the governor level. The Jupiter and Treasure Coast candidates will, I suppose, have to fend off any write-ins.

There are also five people running for vacant seats in the Boca House of Representatives, which has plenty available. With only a single vote, they’re guaranteed a seat — and they’re allowed to vote for themselves.

The presidential election could be interesting. Current Student Body Vice President Collene O’Reilly (no known relation to Bill, the political talk show host) is running alongside Boca House Rep Chuck Forbes, who was not only her opponent last year but ran at the top of the ticket. An interesting dynamic, for sure.

We also have Ayden Maher (no known relation to another Bill, the political talk show host) who has served as university-wide senator and Boca House representative running for the top job. He’s either popular or knows how to turn out the vote: he got more votes than anyone else in the (legislative office only) election last semester; in fact, he got 40 more votes than Chuck Forbes, who already had some name recognition by running for president the semester before that.

Then, we have Adam Epstein. He’s an unexpected candidate, at least for me, because I know him — that is, I know him in a non-SG context. We’ve had both graduate and undergraduate classes together, and as far as I know he’s not currently involved in SG. His running mate Ryan Ebanks, however, certainly is; Ebanks has been Boca Raton treasurer since Chris Ayala was kicked out of FAU last year.

Interestingly absent from the presidential line-up is Alex van Mecl, who is founder and president of the popular Mission Green Student Association and Student Body President Tiffany Weimar’s chief of staff, a role that in recent years has been a springboard for higher office. Perhaps he might run for president next year, whether or not he wins the Broward governorship.