Special election could be held during spring break


Spring break is a time when many students leave Oakland to visit their families, relax on a… Spring break is a time when many students leave Oakland to visit their families, relax on a beach or participate in other activities they don’t have time for during the spring semester.

This year, students may add voting to that list.

The city Clerk’s Office confirmed yesterday that a special election is currently planned for March 7, when many students will be on vacation.

The special election was called after District 3 representative Gene Ricciardi left his position to become a district judge. District 3 includes parts of Oakland and most of the South Side.

Pitt’s spring break is scheduled for March 5 to March 12.

Luke Ravenstahl, city council president, could not be reached for comment since he was out of town.

But according to a press release from Ravenstahl’s office, he will hold a press conference today at 10 a.m. to announce the final date for the special election.

Mark Rauterkus, a libertarian seeking the now empty seat, wrote in his blog that the city does not pay attention to the needs of students, including health care needs, and that is why many of them leave the city after graduating.

“Too many students have graduated and departed. They vote with their feet later in life because they are not welcomed and because government is not doing a good job at the basics,” Rauterkus wrote.

Rauterkus wants the city to hold the special election on Feb. 28.

According to his blog, Rauterkus plans to hold a protest today at 12:30 p.m. in front of Hillman library. Bill Peduto, the city council member for District 8, will be joining Rauterkus to show support for student voters.

Dan Gilman, a spokesperson for Peduto, said that the time for elections should be moved so that students will have a chance to vote.

“We need to do everything we can as a city to encourage voter participation,” Gilman said. “Government works more efficiently with greater public participation,” he added.

According to Gilman, a special election has to be scheduled within 60 days of Ravenstahl’s announcement, which means the city can hold an election until March 14.

Gilman said that regardless of what Ravenstahl announces today, they would still hold the rally to show solidarity with the student population.