TCU Daily Skiff Tuesday, April 20, 2004
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House to look at clarifying election code
After a tumultuous presidential election, SGA is rewriting some of its election rules to make the process less cumbersome.


By John Anderson
Staff Reporter


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 election.”

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 elections.

The problems started in last year’s election with an announcement by Blake Eason, then parliamentarian for SGA.

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 wouldn’t 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 Day.

Eason went door-to-door to rally support on Election Day and was penalized by removing his name from the voting ballot in the day’s 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 wouldn’t happen again.

“It will hopefully make this whole thing more civilized,” Moleski said.

 
 
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