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Emory was Florida, sans chads;
Election turmoil deja vu: Student government vote controversy brought about reforms on campus

By Ben Smith, Staff
The Atlanta Journal and Constitution
Nov. 18, 2000
Home Edition, Metro Section, Page G1

If neither courts nor Florida politicians nor Congress can fix it, maybe they should turn this national election crisis over to college kids.

Just nine months ago, Emory University's own Student Government Association was swept up in a crisis over miscounted ballots, accusations of bias against elections officials and competing claims of jurisdiction.

Emory's student legislature fixed the problem just this week by dumping the old-fashioned system of paper ballots in favor of online voting.

But it was a long road getting there.

In February, SGA Vice President Moses Kim defeated junior representative Amanda Glover in a runoff.

But it was immediately voided when student Election Board talliers discovered that more ballots had been cast than the number of identification numbers recorded from voters—a measure put in place to prevent cheating that allegedly took place the year before.

An Election Board member quit in disgust over the decision to conduct a new election and appealed to the student Constitutional Council to let the election stand. The council agreed.

But wait, the full SGA thumbed its nose at the student court and voted to conduct a new election anyway. Then at the 11th hour, and with the prodding of an Emory administrator and SGA adviser, the election board dropped the plan for a new election.

Will Claiborne, an Emory graduate and a former student leader, and frequent critic of the SGA, told the Emory Wheel student newspaper amid the fracas, "All the parties involved have shown an unprecedented level of incompetence."

Sound familiar?

Reprinted with permission
Copyright © 2000 The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution

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