New rules for SGA campaign trail

SGA and class officer candidates will face stricter campaign rules if new guidelines are passed in SGA assembly today.

The new rules evolved out of problems the Election Oversight Committee faced last year while investigating alleged rule violations.

“We wanted to clear them up and make the language solid,” Seth Williams, EOC chair, said.

In the past, the term “campaign worker” was used but not explicitly defined, so the EOC had difficulty issuing violations, especially when it came to online posting and promotion by unregistered campaign workers. The new rules would make it clearer who must be registered as a campaign worker.

Under the new rules, anyone who does campaign work would be considered a campaign worker and is subject to the same enforcement and rules violation policies. Campaign work, according to the election guidelines, includes, but is not limited to, posting, distributing, designing, managing or creating campaign materials or online accounts.

SGA President Chris Ring said the new regulations will clear up this distinction and other terms that were ambiguous.

“They bump up the accountability that people working under the candidate have,” Ring said.

SGA Parliamentarian Al Carroll said the proposed rule changes would force candidates to make sure that they are not violating any rules and more strictly monitor their workers.

“It will be a good test of how [candidates] manage people and how they manage their time,” he said.

Carroll said he is interested to see how the new guidelines will function this year and how they will affect the violations process.

He said while the new rules are necessary, they might discourage some people from participating with campaigns for fear that they will cause the candidate to receive a violation. He said he hopes there is some leniency this year while people are learning the rules.

“We don’t want to send a message that if you don’t know the rules, you can’t participate,” Carroll said.

These violation policies would also change under the new guidelines. Two minor violations would constitute a major violation. More than two major violations or one severe violation would result in disqualification.

Minor violations include organizations endorsing a candidate and violating posting rules.

Major violations include working with unregistered campaign workers and violating university solicitation rules. Severe violations include posting the voting link on external sites and breaking campus rules other than the solicitation policy.

Under the old rules, a candidate could be disqualified for having more than two major or minor violations or one severe violation.

Campaign financing would also be more clearly defined to include only the money given to a candidate by SGA. No personal finances can be used, but presidential candidates will be given $150 instead of $100.

The SGA presidential debate will be held Feb. 24 and the election will be held on Feb. 28. Online polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.