UVUSA officers and elections committee members outlined the rules for upcoming student body elections in a meeting held on Monday, Feb. 6. Also in attendance were twelve candidates representing three parties who will campaign this year.
“This election process is just a small example of what goes on at the city level, and on the state level, and on the national level,” Sam Hadlock said. Hadlock is UVUSA’s current executive vice-president and is a junior majoring in art.
“It’s a great opportunity to practice being civically engaged, really allowing our voices to be heard,” Hadlock said.
UVUSA asked this paper not to release party names or which candidate is affiliated with which party until after they release the debate publicity on Feb. 27.
“We have designated times in which to release the information in order to create a fair and level playing field for each party to campaign,” said John McClure, a senior majoring in political science and the election committee chair.
According to the timeline set, students will have three days, from March 5-7, to cast their votes online, through UVLink. A candidate debate is set for noon on March 6 at Centre Stage. And candidates can begin campaigning openly at 8 a.m. on Saturday, March 3, until the end of the voting period at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 7.
McClure said the election committee set a shortened campaign period due to student request. “This avoids class and campus disruption,” He said.
“We get a lot of complaints from students about how intrusive the campaigns are, so we limited them to a short amount of time,” said Rebeka Grulich, director of student activities, and adviser to the election committee. Grulich said in the past, elections used to run for the entire week.
“I feel that students that care about elections and representation of their student body have plenty of time to learn about the candidates and their platforms,” McClure said. “As this is a campus election and not a national presidential election, the platforms
and debates are much more concise.”
During the current student body officers’ campaign last year, the team ran unopposed.
“Last year was an anomaly,” Grulich said. “It’s the only time I’m aware of that we only had one party run. Their publicity was not what it normally is. Usually, you show up on campus on election week, and there are no questions about what is going on.”
Grulich said she is working with the election committee to make sure students know about the election.
“The majority of the school will be filled with the teams’ publicity,“ Hadlock said. He designed publicity to promote student body elections. “Hopefully it will remind students to vote,” Hadlock said. He said the publicity is oriented to make students aware of the elections.
“UVUSA and the elections committee will promote voting in general, as well as promotions for the debate the week of elections,” Grulich said.
During the meeting, rules regarding the election process and campaigning were reviewed by Grulich, who also went over the timeline for the election and campaign.
“You are heading into a stressful month, from now until March 7,” Grulich said during the meeting. “Know that you want to run your campaign the way that you want to be a student body leader.”
McClure said the election will be decided by a majority of the votes cast. He said it is possible for candidates of different parties to be elected into office.
According to the timeline set for this semester’s elections, candidates can begin silent campaigning Feb. 27 at midnight, said Grulich. She said silent campaigning can be done exclusively online, via social media and the Internet. However, candidates may not use the pages of official UVU or UVUSA clubs and organizations. She said this same day UVUSA will make available the publicity for the debate. She said no printed ads are allowed during this period of silent campaigning.
Open campaign begins Saturday, March 3, at 8 a.m., said Grulich. Candidates are allowed to place posters around campus. Candidates will have designated areas in the Hall of Flags for campaigning. According to Grulich, two parties at a time will have a spot set aside for them at the Art Wall in the student center. The parties will rotate places so each will have even amounts of campaign time. Grulich said candidates are not allowed to campaign near possible voting stations, such as the computer labs and kiosks around campus. Grulich said campaigning cannot disturb classes. Candidates or professors should not advocate or campaign during classes or in classrooms.
Grulich said in past years, students could choose to either select each candidate individually, or check to cast a party vote. And the election committee is still working to see whether this option is available on this year’s ballot, but no decision has been made.
“When [students] login to UV Link, a little icon will say ‘vote here’. Click there, and vote digitally,” Hadlock said. He said students will be able to vote anywhere they can access UV Link.
“The last time we held the debate prior to the elections, attendance was poor,” McClure said. “As for the date of the debates, it has always been available for media coverage.”
Grulich said election results will be posted Wednesday, March 7 at 7 p.m., just one hour after voting ends.
The requirements for the candidate’s eligibility are part of UVUSA’s constitution, according to Grulich. She said the rules for campaigning are by-laws of that constitution, which is revised annually by the election committee. Grulich said the election committee sets the timeline for student elections, and she, along with other faculty advisors, are there to provide historical perspective and experience of what has and hasn’t worked in the past. “The ultimate decision is up to the students who vote on the [election] committee,” she said.
By J.P. Rodriguez