to look at clarifying election code
a tumultuous presidential election, SGA is rewriting some
of its election rules to make the process less cumbersome.
The House of Student Representatives will vote today on
a proposed bill that would clarify the election code for
candidates running for an SGA office.
The bill, titled Bill 2004-18, was developed in response
to several alleged violations filed against Student Government
Association candidates in the 2003 presidential race.
Jay Zeidman, president of SGA, said the biggest problem
with the old election code was how vague it was concerning
the start of campaigning, use of campaign materials and
what qualifies as a violation.
I think everyone has the understanding that it needs
to change, Zeidman said. This clarifies everything
for the student body and it will overall bring a true
Whitney Grey, elections and regulations chair, said her
committee researched other universities and got their
input in creating the new code.
Larry Markley, adviser for SGA, said the bill would fill
in the loopholes that caused problems in the last few
The problems started in last years election with
an announcement by Blake Eason, then parliamentarian for
After deciding to enter the presidential race, Eason resigned
from his position on Oct. 14, saying he wanted to run
for SGA president.
The announcement was considered a violation of Section
3.11 (E) of the election code, prohibiting campaigning
before the opening of the formal campaigning period, which
wouldnt have started until Oct. 29.
As a result, Eason was prohibited to speak to any organizations
before the elections on Nov. 11, but won an appeal and
was allowed to speak three days before the election.
A fine of $25 each was charged to Zeidman and Eason for
placing campaign signs too early.
Zeidman was also charged with using illegal campaign materials
by passing out doughnuts to encourage people to vote and
was penalized with another $25 fine.
The second accusation against Eason was a violation of
Section 3.11 (C) that prohibits campaigning on Election
Eason went door-to-door to rally support on Election Day
and was penalized by removing his name from the voting
ballot in the days election, but again won an appeal
to the Student Organizations Committee, which led to an
election that included Eason on the ballot.
No candidate received 51 percent of the vote, so a final
run-off election was held between Eason and Zeidman.
Two weeks after the original election, Zeidman was announced
the winning candidate by an 825-to-445 margin.
If the proposed bill is passed, it would allow campaigning
on Election Day and promotional items of small value to
be used to get the student body interested. Any announcement
of running for office would be considered campaigning.
A lot of the changes were made for problems we had,
Grey said. We tried to make the rules more clear
and get rid of the loopholes.
Sebastian Moleski, commuter representative for SGA, said
the old code was unclear and unfair to candidates and
the new bill would make sure the same problems wouldnt
It will hopefully make this whole thing more civilized,