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Low Vote Count Stops Fee Increase

Unofficial results indicate that as few as one Congress seat might remain vacant after the special election.

Students voted 241 to 176 to raise the student activity fee $16.50 for all students.

But Larson said Article 6, Section 503 of the Student Code requires that at least 10 percent of the student body must vote to approve any increase in student fees.

"I am fairly certain that it will not pass," he said.

Larson said he was disappointed with the number of students who voted in Tuesday's election. "I'm disappointed that turnout was so low, but traditionally elections that are not held during the main election for student body president do not generate a large turnout," he said.

But Larson said he was pleased that the majority of students who voted supported the referendum. "I'm glad to say that the majority of students who voted tonight supported the idea of raising student fees."

Student Congress will now re-evaluate whether to continue supporting the fee increase in the fall, Larson said. "We will have to strategize about how we're going to get 10 percent of the student body to vote."

Tuesday's election also was held to fill 13 empty seats that were left in Student Congress after the Feb. 12 general student body elections.

Board of Elections Chairwoman Emily Margolis said seven students ran for the 13 available seats.

Margolis said that as of Tuesday night, she had contacted all seven candidates, and four of them accepted their posts. She said it was probable that the other three would accept.

Margolis said there were five write-in candidates who her office had contacted but who had yet to accept their seats.

Only District 12, Hinton James and Morrison residence halls, did not receive any votes in the election, Margolis said. The election results indicate that as many as nine and as few as one seat could remain vacant.

Margolis said there would not be enough time this semester to hold another special election.

But Larson said that even though only one seat could remain empty, the Student Code requires Student Body President Jen Daum to order another special election within 30 calendar days of the beginning of the fall semester.

Margolis said the election ran smoothly, despite early technical difficulties, which resulted in the wrong districts appearing on the ballot. "The old district designations were there temporarily, but we fixed it as soon as we found out about it."

But Margolis said she did not think the glitches affected many students.

"It did affect a few people, but they called us, and we fixed the problem," she said. Margolis estimated the correct districts were on the ballot by 9:30 a.m.

Larson said he was pleased that most of the Congress seats were filled. "It's been a long time since Congress has been as active as it has been recently."

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