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Student Senate revises senator, SBO election policies

New revisions are being made to Student Senate election policies including guidelines for write-in candidates, which may change the dynamics of elections.

“They are taking a step in the right direction by taking care of election amendments and creating guidelines for write-in candidates ahead of time, since there have never really been rules for write-ins,” Director of Student Activities Michelle Whited said. “I think it’s very smart.”

Temporary Internal Affairs Chairman Nick Fahnders and his committee proposed several amendments that would require write-in candidates to follow the procedures of official candidates in order to run for a position.

“Already as a write-in you need a huge amount of support to win, and to add more requirements to the process makes the government more exclusive,” Student Body Vice President Tricia Anklan. “I don’t think that is right.”

The proposed amendments state write-in candidates should be required to complete a petition and follow other candidate rules to be considered for a position, but their names will not appear on the ballot.

Senior sports communication major Kevin McClelland said he decided  to run last minute as a write-in for Student Body President during last spring elections.

He said he thinks these proposed amendments wouldn’t be fair to students considering running for a position last minute.

“It seems silly to punish a write-in candidate for being late and missing ballot deadline by having them do all the work and not be on the ballot,” he said. “The point of the write-in option is to give more opportunity to step-up to the plate, and they shouldn’t be punished for taking that initiative.”

Whited said she thinks write-in candidates should be required the same work as regular candidates.

“If someone wants to be taken as a serious candidate they should show the work,” Whited said. “If we had someone who missed deadlines they should be held accountable just like the other candidates.”

Anklan said she is not enthusiastic about these amendments because many people are unaware of Senate activities.

“Very few people outside of Student Senate know when things are happening and going on in Senate,” she said. “It is not a bad idea for a write-in to confirm seriousness, but it is hard enough as it is to run as a write-in, I don’t think we need to have more barriers.”

Whited said in the past faulty write-ins and invalid votes, including one year when a cat received several votes, have ruined election results. By creating more guidelines Senate can ensure results won’t be messed up.

“It is a way to protect and make sure people are serious about it and are not just trying to screw with results,” Whited said during the general assembly meeting.

In addition to possible changes in write-in requirements, Senate has also made changes to the constitution regarding campaigning rules of the president and vice president.

According to recent amendment revisions, “Candidates seeking the position of Student Body President or Student Body Vice President must appear on a ticket with another individual; they will appear on the ballot as a ticket for president and vice president, and they shall be elected as one unit by the student body.”

Whited said this means students will only be able to vote for a president and vice president ticket, not individual candidates. By having these two Student Body Officer positions run and be elected together, they are trying to ensure that the pair would be able to work well together during the term, Whited said.

“It’s worth trying to see how it goes,” she said. “Based on my history with Senate, it is always the luck of the draw of how the exec board works together. The years where there is friction and turmoil between the president and vice president haven’t been the best years, and the years everyone got alone have been great. They need to be on the same page.”

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