Discussion

BLOG: Student Apathy Should be Part of Election Debate

May 5, 2014, 7:33 PM HST
* Updated May 6, 4:47 PM
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Following complaints about a recent University of Hawaii at Hilo student government election, a new one will be held beginning Tuesday.

But not all of the candidates are happy with the compromise.

Six of the 16 candidates sent a letter to university officials today saying they still haven’t received answers as to why the election held April 22-23 was nullified, and questioning whether the new one will be done fairly.

UH-Hilo spokesman Jerry Chang said the decision to nullify the previous vote was made by Luoluo Hong, the former vice chancellor for student affairs, who has since left for a new post at a California university.

Chang originally said the first election was nullified because of “complaints.”

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Chang said today he could provide details on only one of those complaints, which is that it was not clear who was in charge of the ballot box after the election.

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That was one of the complaints first aired by the six candidates. It was also serious enough for Hong to nullify the election, Chang said.

“She heard the complaints, saw something was wrong and thought we should do it over again,” he said.

The university also decided that candidates declared post-election to be ineligible for office because of rule violations would be reinstated as candidates in the new election.

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Chang today could not say whether those violations, primarily allegedly campaigning within 200 feet of the polling place, could have had an impact on the election, or why the candidates were reinstated.

Unlike the previous University of Hawaii at Hilo Student Association election, the one scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday will be done online.

The six students want to designate their own “information technology specialist” to confirm the “accuracy and security of the new voting process.”

University officials would not agree to that, Chang said, because that could trigger similar requests and complaints from other student factions.

“We don’t want to get into that,” he said.

But what seems lost in all the hubbub is the fact that most of the interest in the election is coming from just the candidates.

And they are woefully short in numbers.

There are eight seats up for grabs, but only two are contested, even after the disqualified candidates were reinstated.

The races for UHHSA president, vice president, treasurer and three senate spots have only one candidate each.

There are two candidates for senator from the College of Arts and Sciences, and eight in the running for four senator-at-large positions.

The election website can be found here.

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