AUSG elections shift requirements in the wake of COVID-19
Deadlines extended, in-person interactions moved online
Editor’s note: this article originally appeared on theeaglecoronavirusproject.com, a separate website created by Eagle staff at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in spring 2020. Articles from that website have been migrated to The Eagle’s main site and backdated with the dates they were originally published in order to allow readers to access them more easily.
While most of the Student Government elections process has moved online in the last few years, the organization is making additional adjustments to align with the changes caused to the University in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
“To give more flexibility to students because of not being on campus, I proposed we add a week to the signature gathering period,” Elections Commissioner Eamon Vahidi said in an interview with The Eagle, “and that at the end of those two weeks, for people who can't meet the thresholds required, I'm going to look at what, on average, what students are able to meet, and I will lower the threshold to that.”
Typically, students have a one-week period to gather signatures in order to make it on the ballot, but that has been extended to last for two weeks, which gives students until April 5 to get signatures.
The voting period will last for 72 hours, instead of the normal 48, and candidates will have one week to campaign before voting begins.
As in the past, voting will take place online through Campus Labs. Instead of attending an in-person information session, potential candidates must take an online quiz after reviewing election policies and materials. Candidates will no longer have the opportunity to campaign in person and have shifted those efforts online.
“I don't foresee too many challenges because a lot of campaigning already took place online, which worked in our favor in this case,” said Vahidi. Candidates have already been using social media to get signatures on Google forms for petitions and to campaign, Vahidi said.
According to Vahidi, delaying elections would have posed the risk of them not happening at all, and adding the extra week for the signature gathering was a compromise for that.
“My priority is to make sure that students who are putting in a good faith effort to be on the ballot can be on the ballot,” Vahidi said. “I don't want to let requirements stand in the way of that, given everything that's happening right now.”