A would-have-been record breaking 1,273 students voted at this year’s election, exceeding the total number of votes from the last three elections. The votes cast on Thursday, March 11 of the previous election are not included in the total number because the voting polls closed at around 7 p.m.
PSU administration shut down the student body elections in March, asserting that they need to start the process over with open and fair elections.
According to a press release from the ASPSU Web site concerning the previous elections, Dr. Samuels, vice provost for student affairs said “all voting will be immediately discontinued and the results voided.”
All students who have previously voted will have to vote again in the upcoming new elections.
The reason for the cancellation was a free speech issue that arose from an elections committee ruling. Reina Abolofia, a student campaigning for the progressive slate, was told that she could no longer campaign after creating posters and a website that the committee deemed misleading.
After the elections committee sanctioned her, she consulted civil liberties attorney Michael Simon, who wrote a letter to the administration supporting Abolofia’s case, affirming that the ruling violated her First Amendment right to free speech.
Justin Myers, one of the candidates running for president, said the elections cancellation has nothing to do with the progressive slate.
Aaleeya Spence, who’s running unopposed for multicultural cluster representative, is not running on the progressive slate anymore, but said she still supports them.
“It’s important to represent myself now … I don’t want to be defined by what slate I’m running on.”
She added, “It started to become a war between ASPSU versus the progressive slate, that’s not the issue we should be focusing on.”
Wendy Endress, director of student affairs, said voting for the second election process will take place April 7, 8 and 9.
Endress believes the students will vote again. “Students who value voting will be as invested the second time around,” she said.
Myers said he believes it is still worth student’s time and energy to vote. “I’ve been frustrated with the way the elections committee has been handling getting the information out there to the students,” he said.
Presidential candidate Christy Harper said, “We were hoping that they were going to send an e-mail out right away, saying that the elections have been canceled, because most people don’t even know elections have been cancelled. So they don’t know that they have to vote again.”
Ariel Haffey, a freshman at PSU, says she will vote again. She hasn’t heard anything about why the elections were canceled and thinks that as a voter she has the right to know.
“Why should I even try if they’re not going to acknowledge any of that and just cancel it,” she said.
Kristi Light, a junior, said, “I think the administration should maybe put something up on Web CT or a bulletin explaining why they postponed it. We should know when we’re supposed to vote and why, and why it was cancelled.”
Myers said, “There has just been a mass of lack of information going out to the students.”
Harper said, “Dr. Samuels and President Bernstine said that they would send out an e-mail to all pdx accounts on Thursday, stating that the elections have been cancelled and that there is going to be a new election. That has not been done yet.”
Dr. Samuels’s executive assistant said it’s not definite if the e-mail will be sent on Thursday, though it will definitely be in the near future.
For more information go to the Vanguard website at www.dailyvanguard.com or the ASPSU Web site, aspsu.pdx.edu for access to an elections voter guide and get more information about candidates.