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The Daily Tar Heel

Student Elections Postponed

An election to fill vacant Student Congress seats and consider a fee referendum will be rescheduled soon.

The election was intended to fill empty seats in Student Congress and to allow students to vote on a referendum to increase student fees by $5 for undergraduates and $7 for graduate students.

But Emily Margolis, chairwoman of the Board of Elections, said the necessary steps were not taken to set up the elections. "Basically, it was a lack of communication between everybody and me," she said.

Student Body Vice President Rudy Kleysteuber said Student Body President Justin Young was responsible for calling the election to fill empty seats, while Speaker of Congress Mark Townsend was responsible for submitting the referendum passed by Congress to the elections board.

Margolis said that according to the Student Code, the elections board must be notified five to seven days before an election is held, which she said did not occur in this case.

She also said an informational meeting should have been held before the election for anyone interested in filling the congressional seats.

"If you're going to have a special election, you have to have a meeting 14 days beforehand, and it can't be within seven days of a University break," Margolis said. "Because we had Good Friday off, the election wouldn't have been legal at this time anyway."

Margolis also said she did not have a copy of the referendum in advance.

She said that when she saw an e-mail Townsend had sent to the Congress listserv encouraging them to participate in the election, she notified him that the election could not take place.

"The most important thing here is that we follow the code," she said.

Margolis said the elections board would work with student government officials to reschedule the election, which then will be Student Body President-elect Jen Daum's responsibility to call, in a few weeks.

She also said that the referendum will expire when the new members of Congress are sworn in and that the new Congress members will have to write another similar referendum.

"Jen will have to call a new election, which shouldn't be a big deal," she said. "And Congress will have to re-sign the referendum, but there are a lot of people overlapping (between sessions), and it shouldn't be too much of a problem."

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