Voting begins on student fee referendum

Graduate and undergraduate students will vote at different times.
Katie Currid / Graphic Designer

The Board of Elections Commissioners sent e-mails Monday night to undergraduates with a link to the voting site for two referendums, but not to graduate students.

The voting on the referendums, one that would add $1 to student fees for sustainability research and projects and one to continue the Associated Students of the University of Missouri's funding, began at 6 p.m. Monday and will close at the same time Wednesday.

BEC Chairman Dan Kelley said this is the first time to his knowledge undergraduate and graduate voting has been conducted separately.

"Graduates will have a separate vote because their fees are assessed differently," Kelley said.

Undergraduate fees will still decrease from this year by 34 cents, even if the sustainability referendum passes. Graduates won't experience the same cutbacks in fees and will therefore be accepting an increase in student fees. If the sustainability referendum does not pass, undergraduate fees will decrease by $1.34.

When graduates are able to vote, the referenda will be worded slightly differently to reflect the difference in student fee decreases and increases between undergraduates and graduates.

BEC Vice Chairman Sean Haynes said graduate voting would not begin until next Monday, although the date is subject to change.

"It's not typical, but the ballots must be separate because the sustainability referendum will produce different effects on the graduate student fees than it will on the undergraduate fees," Haynes said.

Missouri Students Association Senate Speaker Jonathan Mays said the voting is also being conducted separately because the Student Fee Review Committee requested totals for both graduate and undergraduate voting and the Division of Information Technology is unable to tally votes from the two separately with the same voting site.

"Normally we just open the site and tally the votes, which actually seems a little bizarre to me," Mays said. "I think it makes more sense to track graduate and undergraduate votes separately so we could know, for instance, how many graduates voted for the new (Student Recreation) Complex or the student center."

Kelley said BEC's e-mails, which contained a link to the voting site, vote.missouri.edu, should have reached all undergraduates by 6 p.m. Monday, when the site opened up for voting. Students are allowed to vote once and any students who experience problems should contact the BEC at bec@missouri.edu.

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