As elections season is upon ENC, many students are already feeling the anticipation of the high-stakes campaigning that will occur this week amongst SGA candidates.
What many do not know is that the candidates must abide by strict campaigning rules, outlined in ENC’s Student Government Association Elections Act.
This 12-page document thoroughly outlines the do’s and don’ts of election campaigning and how elections are run, as well as the role of the Elections Committee. All candidates received this complete document during an informational meeting that occurred the evening before primaries began.
The Elections Act outlines the different kinds of campaigning a candidate may want to use. Online campaigning, gimmicks, banners, posters, and flyers are listed as potential forms of campaigning. Within these options are further instructions on what is permitted. For instance, posters “must be essentially flat surfaced to within 1/4 [of an inch]” and candidates may not use more than 1,000 8 ½” x 11″ sheets of paper.
The act also outlines where and how candidates can campaign. For example, chapel and academic buildings are off limits. Chalk is not allowed to be used on buildings, and no material can be upholstered to glass windows or doors.
During the primaries, candidates are only allowed to use two forms of campaigning, for instance, flyers and a banner. If a candidate makes it through the primaries, these limitations decrease significantly, although they do have a $100 spending cap.
Additionally, the final two candidates for each position are required to meet before campaigning in order to set parameters, agreed on via contract. They will meet with the person who currently holds the SGA position, (example: Administrative Assistant candidates would meet with this year’s Admin. Assistant), as well as a member from the Elections Committee. During this meeting the candidates will agree on the parameters of their campaigning, including prices and methods of campaigning.
The Elections Committee was put in place to ensure a fair campaign. They are responsible for making sure candidates are eligible, monitoring campaigning, administering demerits, and have the power to disqualify candidates.
The Elections Committee must have five to ten ENC students, and these students are therefore not eligible to run for any SGA position. This year, the six students on the committee are all seniors, although that is not a requirement outlined in the Elections Act. The Co-Chairs of the Committee are the Executive SGA Administrative Assistant and the President of the Senior Class, which this year is Madeline McDonough and Sarah Andrus, respectively.
The committee administers demerits when a candidate breaks a campaigning rule. This includes posting campaign material in a prohibited area, taking down another candidate’s campaign material, defacing property, influencing voters at the voting booth, bribery, and a number of other actions that would make the campaign unfair.
Demerits result in a subtraction of votes from the final election. If a candidate receives five demerits, he/she is expelled from the election.