Eleven freshmen and one junior will run in the GUSA assembly representative elections, which were pushed back in consideration of those celebrating Rosh Hashanah last weekend, the Jewish new year.

Elections will take place Thursday, Oct. 2, on the Saxa Server until 8 p.m.

Campaigning began at 8 p.m. on Sunday but candidates had until 5 p.m. on Monday to submit election forms.

“After it was brought to our attention that the campaign period did conflict with the end of the Rosh Hashanah holiday, the assembly decided to push back the beginning of the campaign to 8 p.m. on Sunday. The campaign will still end at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday,” James Shea (COL ’04), an election commissioner, said.

Election Commissioner Chair Lisa Lombardo (COL ’04) said it was a bit of an oversight to have scheduled the campaigning during the Jewish holiday but is convinced that the conflict has been remedied. “We do not want anyone to be at a disadvantage, as far as campaigning time is concerned. Instead of postponing the election, we just decided to shorten the campaign,” she said.

Eleven freshmen will vie for the four available for the class of 2007. Only one junior, Nick Lizop (COL ’05) will run for the only junior representative seat open.

Typically Fall elections are held only to fill the freshman seats. But this year GUSA President Brian Morgenstern (COL ’05) called for a special election to fill the seat vacated by the resignation of Shez Islam (COL ’05). Islam announced his resignation on Sept. 5 citing lack of available time to fulfill the duties of the position.

GUSA bylaws require an election to take place within 30 days in such cases. “The Election Commission thought it would be most efficient to combine the processes [the junior election and the previously scheduled freshman election],” Shea said.

This year, commissioners are working to inform candidates of election rules and guidelines for a fair, smooth election unlike last year’s freshmen elections which were plagued by accusations of derogatory campaigning and sabotage.

“We were firm with all the candidates making sure they knew what is allowed and what is not,” Lombardo said. She said she does not expect a repeat of last year’s events. Campaign posters must first be approved by the commission. Also, the various commissioners will monitor different areas of the campus campaigning to assure that election rules are being followed.

“We have a uniform complaint form for all candidates, campaign members and the general student body that is available during Campaign Office Hours. We have also been advising all candidates that there is a complaint process to which they may submit complaints in the event that they feel the Election Commission is not addressing their concerns or has made an unfair ruling regarding any election rules,” Shea said.

Freshman candidate Dito Mas (COL ’07) said, regarding the incidents, “I am very upset to hear [tearing down of posters] was a problem last year and I strongly believe that this year there will be a fair election. I am friends with many other candidates running, and one of the other candidates was even nice enough to lend me her ladder to put up my banner. I would be surprised to hear about problems with candidates tearing down each other’s materials.”

When voting begins, freshmen and juniors will receive voting instructions via e-mail. The spring election last year experienced Web site voting difficulties when it was discovered that some potential voters, including Georgetown students studying abroad, were not sent e-mail ballots. According to Lombardo, the list of voters to which ballots are sent is now updated frequently with lists from the university registrar. “I have made sure I have everyone on the list I could possibly have. We even did a mock ballot and election to make sure there were no minor bugs or kinks in the system,” Lombardo said.

Shea added that the voter lists will be updated the same way in all future elections.

According to Shea, the GUSA Freshman Election voter turnout in past years has been approximately 40 percent.

A debate between the candidates will be held on tonight at 8:15 p.m. in Reiss 264 and is open to the public.

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