The Student Government Supreme Court is where the last two SG presidential elections have been decided. This year SG hopes it will be different. The rules for the upcoming election have been updated in an attempt to keep it clean and simple.
“We’re looking for this to be the election where nothing has to go to the court,” said Jen Brack, the adviser for SG at the informational meeting held Jan. 18.
In last year’s election, nearly all of the six tickets were fined points and faced disqualification for ERC rules violations such as logos that were too similar to copyrighted materials and campaign workers conducting themselves inappropriately.
The rules apply to students running for president and vice president as well as those running for senate.
The biggest change is how the Election Rules Commission will deal with candidates who violate the rules. The ERC will no longer give a set amount of points for each violation. They will decide the amount of points levied on a case-by-case basis.
“We did this because we realize there are varying degrees to which a rule can be violated,” said SG Attorney General Stacy Schnitzer, who, along with the ERC, has been working on the new rules.
Candidates expressed concern that could lead to bias at the informational meeting for candidates last Tuesday.
The senate passed a rule last Tuesday stating that candidates may only distribute, display and publish campaign materials during the 30 days prior to the date of elections. This shortens the overall time for campaigning.
“We hope this modification to the rules will ease the financial strain of running for office and, hopefully, the tendency of the campaigning process to become an annoyance to the campus,” Schnitzer said.
The election itself has been rescheduled to fall before Spring Break, which is earlier than usual. Voting will be March 1 and 2.
“We wanted to allow more time for transitioning the offices,” Schnitzer said. “We hope this change will provide the smoothest transition in May.”
Campaign staffs can have no more than 20 students. This is a drastic change from years past, when candidates signed up as many people as they could find.
“In the past, candidates have blamed violations on campaign workers who did not know the rules,” Schnitzer said. “It is difficult to police hundreds of campaign workers.”
Some candidates thought that 20 students were not enough to run a university-wide election.
“While I understand their reasoning behind making that rule, I think it’s going to be a bit hard to market ourselves to (all the) students in a month or less with only 20 campaign members,” said presidential candidate Brandon Faza.