Wednesday, April 06, 2005

An Open Letter to Russ Ferguson

Dear Russ,

First, I want to thank you for the email you so conscientiously carbon-copied me late last night (which I have attached below). I appreciate your concern about my voting in the DSG runoff election today. In fact, I am so pleased by your gesture that I thought it would be common courtesy to notify you of my intention to boycott the election and to elucidate my reasoning to you.

Let me preface my statement by listing some statistical data. I will assume that Duke has 6000 undergraduates, all of whom are eligible to vote in the DSG election. According to last week's Chronicle, 52% of these undergraduates (approx. 3120) voted in the presidential race. Of these, 37% (1154) voted for Jesse Longoria, 33% (1030) for Emily Aviki, and 29% (905) for you. Now, I agree that these margins are slim and a runoff vote is in order; the president of what is ostensibly the most important student organization should be elected by a clear majority.

My qualm lies in the accusations leveled against Emily Aviki by the DSG election board (prompted, I feel bound to add, by your persistent claims of her dishonesty). The three principal accusations, as I understand it, are these:
1. Emily Aviki posted a live link in her AIM profile to the DSG voting website.
2. Emily Aviki placed a banner on Main West at 11:40pm on March 20th, when campaigning should have begun at midnight on the 21st.
3. Graffiti stating "vote for Ross the Boss" (that's you) was plastered over Emily Aviki's campaign sign on the East Campus Bridge, which you later said was done by her own supporters in order to frame you.

I will deal with these accusations in order:

re: item 1. It seems there is incontrovertible evidence (namely a screenshot) showing that Aviki did indeed place a voting link in her AIM profile. However, I would argue that the vast majority of those who would have viewed her profile on Election Day would have been her friends and acquaintances, presumably people who would have voted for her anyway. Also, the link in question does not obligate the voter to choose Emily for President; it was possible that someone directed to DSG voting through her website could have cast their ballot for you or Jesse.

2. As I am an RA on East, I am unsure as to how many people are wandering around Main West at 11:40pm on a Sunday night. However, I would venture a guess that no more than 20 people saw that banner in the 20-minute time period it was up illegitimately. Given that all of these people immediately decided to vote for Aviki upon seeing her banner, there is still a margin of approximately 100 votes separating the two of you.

3. This third argument leaves me flabbergasted. The insinuation that Aviki would deliberately derail her own campaign in order to frame another candidate impugns her character in a manner that is inappropriate for anyone running for elected office. I have no doubt that you were unaware if any of your supporters chose to create this sign; however, it would not have been unreasonable for you to deny knowledge of this action and apologize. It worked for Reagan in Iran-Contra, and that was a much bigger deal.

I am sure you will argue that, by bringing these items to light and contesting the vote, you are only following the bylaws written by DSG itself. I am aware of this. However, to revoke funding for and then disqualify a candidate for these reasons is, in my opinion, absolutely ludicrous - as such, I display my disgust for the DSG bylaws by boycotting this and all future elections.

Now, regarding the text of your email, I would merely like to point out that Aviki's disqualification is not a "strange twist of events". Your ingenuity betrays you, Mr. Ferguson. It seems to me that your express goal in challenging the election results was to have Aviki so disqualified in order for you to win. This reprehensible, sore-loser spirit on your part has further distanced me from any reason I might originally have had to vote for you.

Again, I'd like to thank you for your concern about my voting record, but I choose to abstain from this and any future DSG elections on principle. Now, on an additional note, you may have noticed an attachment to this email. This is a screenshot I have taken of one of your supporters' away messages, wherein he has posted a live link to the DSG voting website. I am unsure as to whether this violates DSG protocol, though I am sure you will turn yourself in immediately if it does.

Thank you!

Allison Clarke


"Hey Allison,

By a strange twist of events, Emily Aviki has been disqualified
from the DSG Election and there is a runoff between me and Jesse TOMORROW
(Wednesday, April 6).

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE vote tomorrow and get all your friends to
vote. This is going to be all about voter turnout.

I really appreciate it. hope you're having a great week, Allison!


Russ Ferguson"



Anonymous craig said...

Off topic, but Allie, just wanted to mention to you that I was about 20 miles from you for maybe 45 minutes yesterday.


Sitting next to me were two people coming home from a basketball game with blue foot decals on their faces. Tarheels. They expressed their condolences to us for the fact that you are a Dukie.

4/06/2005 6:52 PM  
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