After more than three dozen undergraduates announced this week that they would vie for the 16 open spots on Harvard’s Undergraduate Council, two candidates say they have been entered into the race unwittingly and unwillingly.
In order to be eligible to run for the UC midterm elections, students needed to attend a mandatory rules meeting on Sunday. However, two students who said they did not attend that meeting — Samyra C. Miller ’21 of Lowell House and Dhilan Ramaprasad ’21 of Mather House — have been placed on the ballot nonetheless.
Both Miller and Ramaprasad have previously served on the Council. Miller said in an interview Thursday that she originally planned to run for a seat but ultimately decided not to.
Ramaprasad, meanwhile, wrote in an email to UC election commission chair Perry M. Arrasmith ’20 that he never planned to run for a seat. He said he got onto the ballot because his friends signed him up, adding that he only found out he was a candidate after Arrasmith emailed candidates reminders on Tuesday morning before voting opened. He asked Arrasmith to be taken off the ballot about four hours before voting began.
“I’m not running. My friend keeps signing me up. Pls do remove me. God bless. Godspeed,” he wrote to Arrasmith.
Arrasmith wrote in an email to The Crimson that he did not see Ramaprasad’s email until Tuesday evening, after the ballot went live.
Miller said she did not know that she was on the ballot at all until after voting began. She reached out to Arrasmith Wednesday afternoon also asking to be taken off the ballot.
“I found out that I was on the ballot when someone else texted me about my being on the ballot,” Miller said.
According to Arrasmith, candidates cannot be taken off the ballot after voting is opened. He wrote in an email to The Crimson that students whose names end up on the ballot but who do not want to run will be withdrawn when ballots are counted.
“Once voting begins, we will not interfere with the electoral process,” he wrote.
Arrasmith sent emails to both Miller and Ramaprasad explaining the rule, leading Miller to send an email over the Lowell mailing list asking people to vote for other candidates instead.
In an email addressed to Arrasmith and also sent to a Mather mailing list, Ramaprasad called himself a “UC Candidate Non-consensual.”
“It would be a shame, Perry, if this seat were to wrongfully fall into my possession, once more,” Ramaprasad, “Mark my words, though, should this happen, I will take you and the entire UC down with me.”
The voting period for UC midterm elections ends Friday at noon.
—Staff writer Sharon Xu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.