A.S. elections manager outlines campaign rules

    A.S. Elections Manager Tom Chapman announced a number of changes to the election committee’s policies regarding interpretations of the election bylaws during the March 1 candidates’ meeting. Among the changes are an informal resolution process for grievances, a point system for assessing bylaws violations, and the banning of “poster saving.”

    David Ung
    Guardian

    By distributing handouts delineating the changes, Chapman believes that the changes will make the election committees’ expectations clearer and reduce the number of bylaws violations and grievances.

    “I don’t know if these changes … [will be] more effective in curtailing violations,” Chapman said. “I do think that these informal documents such as the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ handout will help clarify to candidates what is meant by certain sections of the bylaws, and I think that the violation/disqualification guidelines gives candidates a better idea of the seriousness of the violations.”

    Candidates lauded Chapman’s decision to distribute information sheets with the committee’s expectations.

    “I really appreciate the information the Elections Committee compiled so that we are aware of where the committee is at,” said A.S. vice president internal Jenn Pae, who is running for A.S. president. “They’re making sure that everything is fair and ensuring that we’re all starting off on the same foot. That makes things a lot easier for us.”

    This year, the elections committee will use a point system to assess the seriousness of violations in order to provide a more consistent approach to penalties for election bylaws violations. Some of the violations that could lead to disqualification would include tampering with ballots, falsifying statements to the elections committee, and campaigning within 50 feet of the polls on election day. Chapman emphasized that while the committee would try to adhere to the point system, it is non-binding and the committee reserves the right to penalize violators as they see fit.

    Many candidates, such as A.S. Commissioner of Enterprises and A.S. presidential candidate Jeremy Cogan, believe that the guidelines will help make the election run more smoothly.

    “I do feel that it was a good way for the committee to potentially explain the consistent strategy they’ll use to apply the bylaws,” Cogan said. “It’s a good supplement to what’s already there.”

    The committee will also now require that candidates filing grievances go through an informal resolution process with the elections manager prior to filing a formal grievance to the committee. Chapman believes that this process will more effectively resolve many of the grievances filed during the election period.

    “If there’s a process by which things can be resolved outside of a hearing, then that would be a positive to all sides, [assuming] all sides can resolve their problems outside of a hearing,” Cogan said. “It’s not necessarily a substitute for the hearing process if the sides cannot reach an agreement.”

    The committee also moved to end the practice of “poster saving,” which slates used last year and in the past. If there is a “direct correlation” between posters hung before the campaign period that are replaced by posters hung immediately after the campaign period begins, the committee would consider that an act of campaigning outside the campaigning period, which could lead to disqualification. The committee also emphasized a number of bylaws regarding the improper use of campaign materials, stating that the committee would strictly enforce the bylaws.

    Most candidates predict a less contentious election than last year, which featured numerous grievances and disqualifications.

    “I think that the election committee has done a better job this year than before in defining what exactly things are,” A.S. Vice President External and presidential candidate Harish Nandagopal said. “I think that’s better for all candidates and all parties involved.”

    More information regarding the election process can be found at http://as.ucsd.edu/elections.

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