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Ticket goes unchallenged in campus election

Sam Stryker | Wednesday, February 1, 2012

For the first time in recorded history, Notre Dame will hold a student body president and vice president election featuring only one approved ticket.

Juniors Brett Rocheleau and Katie Rose filed the only completed official petition by the Jan. 27 deadline. If no write-ins are approved, they will run unopposed in the Feb. 8 election.

Tuesday evening, the Student Senate voted against a recommendation by the Judicial Council to suspend the election, as outlined by the Constitution of the Undergraduate Student Body.

If the order had passed, Rocheleau and Rose would have assumed the positions of student body president and vice president, respectively, without being elected by the student body.

According to the recommendation, the request to suspend the elections was made to save “financial and human resources that would otherwise be expended in the conduction of an election.” The recommendation was filed because Rocheleau and Rose were the only interested candidates to file a successful official petition.

Sophomore class president Nicholas Schilling, who served as Senate Chairman pro tempore as Rocheleau was absent from the meeting, said the group decided it was in the best interest of the student body to go forward with the election.

“The general feel from the Senate was they didn’t want to deprive the student body from the right to vote,” he said. “Also, in case there were any write-in candidates they wanted to make sure there was an opportunity for those candidates to come forward.”

Sophomore Cait Ogren, vice president of elections, said the circumstances surrounding this election were unprecedented in recent history.

“Since 1996, there has been no situation like this,” she said. “Whether one happened before, we don’t have record of.”

Though Rocheleau and Rose will run unopposed, write-in candidates have the opportunity to be approved up until midnight Monday.

As outlined by the Constitution, those interested in running as write-ins must provide 100 extra unique signatures in addition to the 700 signatures mandatory for all candidates. They must also furnish proof of academic good standing from the First Year of Studies or the Office of the Registrar, and prove good disciplinary standing as determined by the Office of Residence Life.

According to Ogren, no write-in candidate has been approved yet.

Ogren said that while write-in candidates have been approved in Student Government elections in the past, they have usually replaced a candidate on a ticket. She said having an entirely new ticket emerge through this process is unheard of.

“If for some reason in the past somebody has dropped out or has been deemed ineligible for some reason and the ticket has wanted to continue with a new candidate, that has happened before, but never in a situation like this,” she said.

Ogren said it is too soon to decide if there will be a debate or public forum in which students can discuss campus issues with eligible candidates.

“We just found out the election will be proceeding, so there are some things we are going to have to take into consideration with these unique circumstances,” she said. “The one thing we know is the election will take place as planned.”

Though Rocheleau and Rose are the only official ticket, Ogren said she hopes students approach this year’s election as they have in the past.

“We are hoping that students will participate in this election as fully as if it were a normal year,” she said. “We hope that everyone considers it their duty to the Student Union to vote for the candidate they see fit for the position regardless of the unique circumstances.”