Before student body election packets were even due on Feb. 6, the elections committee was being put together to prepare for the upcoming campaigns and voting with the purpose of overseeing the 2012-2013 elections on campus.
The role of the elections committee, according to Director of Student Activities Beka Grulich, is to ensure that the election and campaign rules are upheld.
If rules are broken, it is the committee’s responsibility to assess the situation and determine appropriate penalties, according to Phil Clegg, assistant dean of students.
“If someone doesn’t oversee the rules, chaos ensues,” Grulich said.
Each year before the committee is formed, the student council reviews the election by-laws and make any necessary adjustments.
According to Clegg, there were only minor changes made for this year’s elections. One such adjustment was the addition of social media rules, as it is a newer tool for campaigners.
Just as officials change each year, so does the committee.
“The committee is invited and appointed by the student body president,” Clegg said.
Typically the committee is chaired by the Student Body President, but from time to time they will turn it over to another member of student government. according to Clegg.
This year the chair of the elections committee is Joe Jurisic, who is currently the vice president of Student Activities, Jurisic replaced John McClure, who is Chris Loumeau, Student Body President’s assistant.
McClure stepped down as chair because of scheduling conflicts during the week of elections, but remains on the committee.
McClure assembled the committee, with consideration from Student Life advisors and the approval of Loumeau in December 2012.
Each year the chair works to include a range of members on the committee, including staff, faculty and students.
In addition to upholding election rules, the committee will “handle the details of the elections, work with IT to make sure the ballots are working and schedule space at the school,” Grulich said. Space is needed for the debates, as well as campaigning.
Once the voting has closed, the committee is also charged with going through write-in ballots to assess whether they are valid and then count the number of votes each write-in may receive.
In an effort to avoid having only one team run this year, Grulich, at the request of Cory Duckworth, vice president of Student Affairs, began recruiting earlier by holding informational sessions during leadership day in August 2011, as well as another meeting mid-semester.
“The hope was to reach out to those interested in student government,” Grulich said.
This year, three teams will be running for student office and today the team names and group members were released by the elections committee.
By Andrea Whatcott