The Student Government’s spring election campaign officially began at 10 p.m. last night after they held a nominating convention for candidates.
“Active” campaigning, which includes any campaign-promoting activity in which the candidate is directly involved, will last until March 3. Candidates can run “passive” campaigning on March 4 and 5 when voting actually takes place. This allows candidates to leave up any chalkings, posters and Facebook groups during voting.
In the weeks preceding the campaign’s start, the SG held several information sessions for students interested in running for executive positions or class and school council positions to go over position requirements and campaign guidelines. More students than usual attended the meetings, according to Board of Elections Chair Amy McConnel. She said she was very pleased with the turnout, because “it’s wonderful to see so many people coming out.”
SG President Joe Vidulich said he was glad “to get new faces” and that the election will feature many diverse candidates representing different aspects of campus life.
“If the SG fails to represent the students that elect them, then we all fail,” he said.
Jon Schwartz, a freshman in the School of Public Affairs who is considering running for a council position, said his interest in the SG stems from his experience planning school activities at the high school level.
Annika Pettitt, a sophomore in the School of International Service, said she was interested in becoming more involved in the SG to help SIS “pull together and create a learning community that can mean something outside of the classroom.”
Students’ credits factor into whether they are eligible to run for a particular office. 2011 Class Council President Josh Casey said he plans on running for the 2010 class during the spring election because his credit count exceeds the limit for the current freshman class. Credit count also affects which races he or she can vote in.
McConnel ran the last information session, in which she briefed prospective SG candidates on the “do’s and don’ts” of the nomination, campaign and election processes. The recommended and standard forms of campaigning are posters, Facebook groups, quarter sheets, food items, chalking, videos and Web sites, according to McConnel.
Candidates often think of creative new ways to get publicity that might give themselves an unfair advantage over their competition and may go against BOE rules, McConnel said. For example, not fully reporting campaign expenses to the BOE, campaigning in areas of campus designated by the BOE to be campaign-free or doing “active” campaigning after voting has begun all violate BOE rules.
Any formal complaints of campaign improprieties can be directed to the BOE, she said.
Correction: In “Prospective SG candidates begin campaigning,” the article incorrectly stated that SG election was scheduled for March 4 and 5. The election is actually March 5 and 6.