New changes in the Student Government (SG) statutes made last fall will be applied for the first time during this year’s general election, allowing senators and any candidate to run for two positions simultaneously.
The SG statute 705.3.7., which stated that candidates and tickets cannot run for more than one office was overturned last semester by the SG Senate, and this year will be the first time that candidates are allowed to run for two positions.
The updated statute reads: “In order for a single applicant to be placed on the official ballot as a Senatorial candidate AND on a President/Vice President ticket, they must attend meetings fulfilling each of the above requirements…The applicant must additionally sign a form expressing their understanding that, should their ticket win the Presidential election, they shall not be eligible for a Senatorial seat even if they receive the requisite number of votes…If a candidate is elected to both the winning ticket and Senate, their subsequent senate seat(s) shall be given to the runner-up senate candidate(s).”
The proposed change was originally vetoed by Student Body President Moneer Kheireddine, but then it went back to the Senate where it was overturned by a 2/3 majority.
In addition, the Senate positions are now paid. This change began last semester, where senators work part-time and have to attend mandatory Senate meetings. Each senator works approximately 5-8 hours per week as a USF student employee.
To be eligible to run in any position, candidates must be enrolled for at least six credit hours as an undergraduate or four credits as a graduate degree-seeking student and maintain at least an institutional 2.5 GPA as an undergraduate student and a 3.0 GPA as a graduate student.
According to Sebastian Leon, SG’s supervisor of elections, this years’ general elections have a higher number of applicants than years prior due to the recent changes made in the statute.
“The general elections have a higher demand than the midterm elections,” Leon said. “Especially from the Senate, we are expecting more people to run in this general election due to paid positions and the new changes in the statute. As long as the requirements are met, any student can run for (student body) president or even Senate in this general election since there are Senate seats open.”
The applications for the general elections are due Friday, Feb. 1. Every candidate has to attend at least one mandatory informational meeting which will be held in the MSC. The meeting will cover the set of rules that each candidate must follow throughout their campaign and will answer any questions that they might have.
“I would like to see in the future more rules to make it more aware and easy for people to run for office,” Leon said. “The more competition the better.”
This year, there will be two polling stations located every day throughout the week of Feb. 25-28. One of the locations will be inside the Marshall Student Center and the other station will rotate around different locations, including the library, The Village, the Education building and the Engineering building.
As a way to increase voter turnout, Leon said SG will be giving out items like shirts, flyers and pizza during the week to motivate students to vote either online or in one of these locations.
“I always tell people to come out and hear what these candidates have to say and at the end of the day, vote for the one that best represents their interests,” Leon said. “This is money and activities that do affect you and by getting involved, you’re helping improve your own college experience and the school.”