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Judicial council adjusts election rules

Mel Flanagan | Wednesday, February 6, 2013

This year’s student body president and vice president election will proceed very similarly to last year’s election in terms of rules and regulations, vice president of elections Katie Hennessy said.

All changes made to the election process this year were made to the Constitution of the student government by Student Senate, by recommendation of the Department of Internal Affairs. The Judicial Council implemented those changes for the first time during this election cycle. The only major change involved write-in candidates, Hennessy said. Write-in nominations have technically always been allowed, but the old web-based voting system did not allow students to actually vote for them during the elections.

“We haven’t had any write-in candidates,” Hennessy said. “It was something that was allowed for, but we didn’t have means to make it actually happen. If someone said they wanted to [vote for a write-in candidate], we would have had a lot of issues.”

This year, the Judicial Council switched to a different server and ticket ballot that would enable students to write in a candidate’s name if necessary.

The Judicial Council also made changes to how write-in candidates are approved, Hennessy said. The major effect of the new regulations posits that write-in nominations must be approved at least four calendar days prior to the election.

Outside of those changes to write-in candidates, Hennessy said today’s election will function similarly to last year’s. The Council announced six election tickets Jan. 28, and campaigning began the following day at 11 a.m.

“There are not many restrictions on campaigning other than certain rules regarding where they place posters, et cetera,” Hennessy said.

Additionally, Hennessy said she and the election committee must approve any campaign-related poster, website or social media post prior to publication. Rule violations have delayed election results in the past.

The student body presidential and vice presidential debate took place Monday night in LaFortune Student Center, where each ticket outlined its primary goals for a prospective student government administration.

Voting will take place today from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. through an email sent out by the Judicial Council, but Hennessy said the results are not likely to be finalized immediately.

“With six tickets we will likely have a run-off election since, in order not to, someone has to win a majority,” she said.

In the case of a runoff, the two tickets with the highest number of votes would participate in a debate Sunday night, Hennessy said, and the runoff election would take place Monday. The voting process would be the same Monday as it is today.

The high number of tickets running in this year’s election likely resulted from last year’s atypical single-ticket race, Hennessy said.

“We tried to do whatever we could to publicize the running to get more tickets,” she said. “Last year, a lot of people were upset about it … so I think more people were interested in [running] now.”

Contact Mel Flanagan at mflanag3@nd.edu