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Candidates provided in-depth Web sites describing their ideas for campus improvement as well as revealing their personal sides, but candidates and students gave differing opinions on the impact the sites had on the election outcome and voter turnout.

All the candidates' Web sites featured detailed descriptions of their platforms and attempted to show their personalities with a variety of features including pictures, favorite Web sites and biographical information.

Former candidate Dustyn Baker said that some of the Web sites' extensive creativity might have affected the overall outcome of the election. "I think other candidates may have used the flashiness (of their Web sites) to their advantage."

Candidate Justin Young said he used his Web site to show his sense of humor while still giving voters the facts they needed to make an informed choice.

Young's Web site includes spoofs on popular music videos, television shows, movies and commercials along with his campaign information.

"We wanted to reach out to more students in a creative and entertaining way," he said.

But Young said the interactive site also allowed for more student input and has received more than 4,000 hits. "The fact that we are combining the creative and humor with serious issues just really reflects what kind of candidate I am."

Former candidate Correy Campbell said he wanted his Web site to showcase his platform and his personality.

"I just put all my ideas up there and tried to make it easy," he said. "I just wanted to make my platform known.

"I wanted people to see that I am just an average guy. I didn't do too bad for a sophomore."

Although personal Web sites make candidate information easily accessible to students, candidate Eric Johnson said there is no substitute for personal interaction.

"Nothing can replace person-to-person contact," he said. "You can answer questions and elaborate on details, but (the Web site) is a great complement."

Students agreed that Web sites allowed for greater knowledge about candidates.

Tia Ward, a sophomore from Greensboro said, "I think Web sites help because if you wonder what the candidates stand for, you can just check out their Web site."

Some students also felt that online Web sites and voting should replace more traditional, hard-copy campaigning.

Heather Todd, a junior from Brevard, said, "What really bothered me about the fliers was that they were put over the Rape Crisis Center fliers that were trying to recruit people."

All in all, students and candidates both said they benefited from the Web sites because the sites facilitated students' attempts to learn about the candidates and their stances.

Johnson said, "It's just another way to make more informed voters, and the more informed voters are, the better."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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