SA Senate election results delayed again

By Philip Dalton

Here we go again.

The Wednesday and Thursday Student Association Senate election results have been declared void because of the large number of invalid ballots turned in.

SA Public Relations Adviser Anna Bicanic said too many of the ballots came back invalid. “The SA’s constitution states that we cannot have more than 5 percent of the ballots invalid,” she said.

Of the 706 ballots cast, 11.4 percent of the ballots were invalid.

Bicanic attributed the large number of invalid ballots to people marking either too many total candidates or voting in too many districts.

“We don’t understand why there was a problem,” Bicanic said. “It looks like we’ll have to clarify the rules, and hopefully we’ll have better results next time around. We may have to put a ballot in the paper so people understand how to mark it.”

SA Elections Commissioner Mary Sindelar said she saw one ballot which had 15 votes cast and others which had people voting for two senators in each district.

Students were instructed by poll workers and the ballot itself to vote for up to five candidates in their own district and up to three from other districts, said Sindelar.

Sindelar said, “We would like to stress that we had written instructions on the ballots and poll workers were there to tell voters how many people they could vote for.”

The mishap marks the third time in a row election results have been delayed.

Last semester’s SA Executive Board election turned into a fiasco, featuring contested returns, disqualified candidates and a runoff election. Last fall, the SA Senate results were delayed due to the large number of write-in votes.

Sindelar expressed disappointment in the results of the election. “We are disappointed because a lot of people put a lot of time and a lot of hard work into this election. We look forward to next week and hope we can rectify the situation,” she said.

The elections will be held once again next Wednesday and Thursday. The polls will open at 9 a.m. and may close earlier next week at 5 p.m. because of the lack of voters between 5 and 7 p.m.

The first SA senate meeting will be postponed until Sept. 20.

“This is unfortunate because the SA is anxious to get down to business, and I’m sure the candidates want to get started as well,” Bicanic added.

On the lighter side, 3.4 percent of the student population voted, which Sindelar said was an increase from last year’s 2 percent turnout. However, NIU is home to about 25,000 students.