SG campaigning begins with new spending limits, write-in rules

Campaigning officially began Monday, March 19. (Jake McLernon)
Campaigning officially began Monday, March 19. (Jake McLernon)

Campaigns for next year’s Student Government's executive and senate positions began Monday with new rules requiring documentation for write-in candidates and limits on campaign spending.

This year’s Spring Election ballot, which students can access online when campaigning ends and voting begins on April 2, includes three pairs of names for Student Body President and Vice President: Alex Williams and Jordan Foster, Michael Jordan and Donald Garrett, and Liam Hennelley and Mohamed Ahmed. The ballot will also include the names of 33 candidates seeking to fill 30 Student Senate positions.

A list of all Student Senate candidates is available here

Students may also be considered as a write-in candidate, but for the first time, they must sign and submit a statement to the Student Government Office by March 28 stating that they meet all eligibility criteria.

According to Assistant Director of Student Government Melissa Masone, candidacy for the executive and senate positions is open to all full-time Mason students, at least 18 years old and possessing at least a 2.0 GPA. The individual must also be a Mason student for at least one year.

Masone said the documentation requirement for write-in candidates is a new addition to the Election Code which the Student Senate passed this semester. In previous elections all write-in votes were counted, even votes for “Mickey Mouse” and “Tiger Woods.”

“[Students] were writing in Tiger Woods, or Alan Merten, or Mickey Mouse, and it was getting a bit redundant,” said Masone.

So far write-in statements have been successfully filed for an additional two Senate candidates. No write-in statement for an executive position had been filed as of Tuesday afternoon. 

Also new this year is a campaign spending limit of $1,000 combined for president and vice-president candidates, and $350 for senate candidates. A candidate is responsible for funding his or her campaign entirely with their own money and submitting a record of all campaign expenditures to the Student Government Election and Disputes Commission, according to Masone, who said the measure is to ensure no student is able to “buy an election.”

Following the executive and senate election pages, a third section of the ballot will ask students to vote on proposed amendments to the Student Government Constitution.

“No amendment can be added without the Student Body voting its approval,” said Masone.

One of the proposed amendments, which has already received Senate approval, would require that Student Senate candidates maintain a cumulative 2.5 GPA at the time of elections. This policy would affect elections beginning in the Spring 2013 semester, according to Masone.

When ballots open, all Mason students, including graduate students, will be able to vote by clicking on one link which will then direct the student to the ballot hosted on CollegiateLink. The link will be sent to student via email before ballots open on April 2.

The student body will have a 48-hour window to vote from April 2 to 4. Ballots will be released at 12:15 a.m. on April 2 and will close at 12:15 a.m. on April 4.

Prior to the election, a “debate” will be held in the Johnson Center atrium on Wednesday, March 28 at 6 p.m.

According to Masone, the debate will function more as a Q&A panel since the candidates will only be responding to questions and not debating each other.

“[The executive candidates] will talk a little bit about their platform and some of the goals they want to accomplish,” said Masone.

The event will end with the presidential and vice-presidential candidates answering audience questions.

The Student Goverment Election code is available here.

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