Residence hall elections
Complex elections made simple with help from New Castle County Department of Elections
2:03 p.m., Oct. 1, 2013--Complex elections don't have to be complex. So University of Delaware undergraduate residents learned on Wednesday, Sept. 18, as they cast their ballots for Complex Community Council (CCC, or “c-cubed”) positions in voting booths provided by the Department of Elections for New Castle County.
Residence Life and Housing has worked with the Department of Elections for four of the last five years to bring the voting machines to campus. In presidential election years, the booths are unavailable.
Partnership for change
“We're glad that we can familiarize students with how to use the voting machine,” said Anthony Albence, director of the state of Delaware Department of Elections for New Castle County. “Particularly for Delaware residents, and residents of some Philadelphia area counties that use the same type of voting machine, this affords them an opportunity to see the machines in action and to get a feel for the entire voting process.”
In addition to being able to vote at dining locations around campus using the provided voting booths, students were able to vote online via Student Central. Votes were tallied by that night and winners announced. The speed of that process is not unfamiliar to the Department of Elections.
“In Delaware, given our small size, we have standardized most aspects of voting,” said Albence. “We use the same voting machines statewide, and generally the same procedures. This makes the voting process simpler for residents, and this -- combined with our size -- means we can report election (unofficial) results quickly on election nights.”
Not all UD students are from the Mid-Atlantic region. The newly elected president of the Thompson, Lane, Russell Complex, Frank Haendel Gonzalez, came to UD from Venezuela.
“This is my third presidential election (won once, lost once) since my school in Caracas, Venezuela, so it was the third time I had to put on a tie and a suit and walk around ‘shaking hands and kissing babies,’” Gonzalez, a UD freshman, said. “My electoral experience was very good overall, not only for the great time and experiences that it gave me, but for the quality time and friendships that came out of the walks around our complex, and every single floor of our seven buildings.”
The Department of Elections staff prepare for CCC elections with the same rigor and process as federal, state and local elections. Drew Brooks, the supply, storage and distribution coordinator with the Department of Elections, worked with Residence Life and Housing to train students and staff on how to use the machines before election day.
The Department of Elections staff members are strong proponents of the electoral process, whether at UD, in Delaware, or further afield.
"If they don't plan to return to their home state to vote in an election, students should contact the elections office where they are registered to vote well in advance of Election Day to obtain an absentee ballot,” Albence reminded. “This process can take some time to complete, and we don't want anyone to miss the opportunity to vote."
More about Complex Community Councils
Complex Community Councils are residence hall governments that exist in each complex, allowing resident students the chance to shape their campus communities through social programming and advocacy, providing an opportunity for students to get involved and develop leadership skills. Each CCC is advised and supported by Residence Life and Housing staff members and is an integral part of the Resident Student Association (RSA).
Students who run for office run on a variety of platforms, which means that the activities of each CCC vary every year and by complex.
“I plan to pursue a change in our floor's equipment, by working with the administration and university offices.” Gonzalez said. “Also to improve our common areas, which are in need of a caring touch and, of course, have a variety of community-based activities and projects that will unite us as neighbors and fellow Delawareans. I look forward to working tightly with our Green Team, along with other University organizations that want/can help us achieve the goals we set for our complex. Again, I am excited for the year ahead.”
Article by Tabitha Groh