The SGA Senate unanimously confirmed the updated election guidelines. Photo by Lauren Hough.
RYANN BAHNLINE | STAFF REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Student Government Association, SGA, approved new election guidelines on Feb. 1 through an unanimous vote by the senate. The new guidelines clarified social media use by candidates, new violation and budget guidelines, as well as updated the application process for new candidates.
Senate Resolution 2223-056, titled “Resolution to Approve Election Guidelines,” states that “The Judicial Branch’s Election Oversight Commission has worked diligently to craft election guidelines to ensure the fair election of executive offers and senators by the student body, and whereas, the guidelines will serve as the guiding document for elections … ”
Each spring, the senate’s Election Oversight Commission will present changes to the guidelines to the senate for approval.
Amelia Ball, a senior political science and international studies double major, is the chair of the Election Oversight Commission and assisted in making these changes to the guidelines.
“[The guideline changes] are proposed in the form of resolution, which is how pretty much everything is passed,” Ball said. “And so we prepare them the fall semester, and then in the spring, we get sponsors, and they present it to the senate.”
The sponsors assist in advocating on the behalf of the Election Oversight Commission to the rest of the senate. For this resolution, the two sponsors were Alex Stencel and Ben Cekander, both seniors and class of 2023 senators.
One main change was surrounding the applications for SGA. Will Kissel, junior computer science and computer engineering major, serves as the vice chair of the Election oversight committee. Kissel described what these look like during the senate meeting on Feb. 1.
“We just verified that we’re only looking at whether the candidates are meeting their criteria and the application that we sent out,” Kissel said. “We’re not looking at what they’re going for or anything like that.”
Kissel also described how prior SGA experience can play into that application. They stated how this involvement can be included. The SGA office and resources gained from being a senator are not allowed to benefit the applicant.
Several changes made in regard to the election guidelines have to do with making elections more accessible for students across campus, even if they are not involved with SGA currently. Ball said that the main goal was to make the playing field a bit more equal.
Other noticeable changes include budget reform for both the presidential and senate campaigns.
“Previously, the presidential campaign had seven days to spend $500 for that campaign period, and then senators had $50 if they were in a contested election,” Ball said.
With the changes, presidential tickets have a 10-day campaign period to spend $1,000, and senators in a contested election will now be able to spend $100.
Kate Rashevich, sophomore political science major, serves as another vice chair of the Election Oversight Commission. Rashevich described new changes to the social media side of elections, as candidates will often create platforms on social media to promote themselves.
“Originally we had it where you could not repost [platform accounts] on your personal accounts,” Rashevich said. “We changed that. All social media posts do have to originate from the candidate’s page.”
Ball said social media rules have become a bit more relaxed, which she also credited with being the most important change. Regarding social media violations, if any new rules are broken, it results in a 1% deduction of total votes for a minor violation, and a 3% deduction of total votes for a major violation.
Students are able to read the entire resolution, including the new changes, on SGA’s website under resolutions.
The 2023 election timeline is as follows:
Monday, Feb. 27: APPLICATIONS OPEN
Monday, March 6 – Friday, March 10: Spring Break
Sunday, March 12: APPLICATIONS CLOSE at 11:59 p.m
Tuesday, March 14: Candidate meeting
Saturday, March 18: CAMPAIGNING BEGINS
Wednesday, March 22: Presidential debate
Tuesday, March 28: ELECTION DAY
Wednesday, March 29: Results at noon