From left to right, Allyson Bowers & Jacky Yoo, Victoria Jackson & Derek Deakins and Michael DeMatteo & Michael Lillie.

George Mason Student Government elections begin Tuesday and, rather than using traditional polls, the election will be conducted over the Internet.

While there are 30 open seats in the senate, only 23 candidates are running. The number would have been 18 had it not been for a rule change to validate signatures on the petition packets. One of the three executive tickets also had problems with attaining all of the necessary signatures, said David Bier, a sophomore government major who is a commissioner on the Election Disputes Commission.
As it stands now, the remaining seven slots will be filled by either write-in candidates or an appointment process.

“I’ve never seen a successful write-in campaign,” Bier said. “Last year Barack Obama got a few votes. Alan Merten gets a few votes every year.”

Bier said it is difficult to organize enough people to make the write-in a realistic way to get elected.
The appointment process requires someone who is interested to gather the signatures and then pass a committee hearing and then a full-senate hearing before being admitted to the senate.

“The seven seats can’t be filled until the next senate is confirmed,” Bier said. “The first week of May is the first meeting of the new senate which will have a quorum since there are over 21 senators.”

The rules state that senate candidates must have 150 signatures while the executive candidates must have 300 signatures. Once the packets are finished, they are submitted to the Student Government adviser who compares the names to the G numbers on the packet. If there is a discrepancy, the signature is marked as invalid, Bier said.

With only 18 packets without discrepancies, it would have left Student Government three short of a quorum. This would have been a problem for the last meeting of the year when leadership positions for Student Senate are picked, as those positions cannot be determined without a quorum.

“This would mean a new election in the fall to get a quorum,” Bier said. “Voter turnout has been historically low for major spring elections, so to have two more elections would mean dismal turnout.”
Bier said that while the EDC can not rule based on the need to raise numbers of people in the election, they did realize there were some problems in the process.

“When I was running my freshman year, someone signed Cornelius Fudge and put witchcraft and wizardry as their major,” Bier said. “We acknowledge that candidates have no way to verify G numbers as they’re confidential.”

The EDC came together and ruled, providing a five-signature leeway for the executive ticket in question and a 10-signature leeway for the senatorial candidates. This validated all of the packets in question, Bier said.

Since the ruling, a grievance has been filed by Donald Garrett, a senator in Student Government. Garrett’s grievance questions the constitutionality of the EDC’s ruling, though Bier said he is confident of the legality.

To vote in the election, visit gmu.collegiatelink.net. The voting will open at midnight Tuesday and continue through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.