SGA approves changes to election commission

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SGA approves changes to election commission

The Student Government Association passes a bill unanimously on Wednesday April 24, 2019.

The Student Government Association passes a bill unanimously on Wednesday April 24, 2019.

Austin Shaw

The Student Government Association passes a bill unanimously on Wednesday April 24, 2019.

Austin Shaw

Austin Shaw

The Student Government Association passes a bill unanimously on Wednesday April 24, 2019.

The Student Senate passed legislation Wednesday that will alter the makeup of the Student Government Association Election Commission for future student elections.

The student body president appoints six students to the Election Commission each year to administer and regulate student elections. Students holding an elected or appointed office in SGA are ineligible to serve on the commission.

Under the new legislation, authored by the 2019 election commission, three commissioners will be held over from year to year, leaving three open seats for appointment.

Michael Brown, 2019 chief elections commissioner, said this change will help elections go smoothly because an entirely new set of commissioners will not need to be trained each year.

“We wanted to keep at least two or three experienced election commissioners, so they can help train the newer election commissioners,” Brown said.

The change will not go into effect until next year, meaning none of the 2019 commissioners will be held over for 2020 elections.

Each election commissioner will serve in a specific role with a set of responsibilities under the bill. Those roles include deputy chief, election outreach, and marketing commissioners.

“Each commissioner will have a different role, so it can make things go more balanced and smoother as far as the elections period,” Brown said.

SGA Advisor Gabriel Fonseca said without established roles for each member, much of the commission’s work was left up to the chief commissioner.

“Once they elect the chief commissioner, the other five — in my experience last year — kind of just sat there,” Fonseca said.

Along with changes to the commission, the bill makes slight changes to the general election process.

Under the legislation, senatorial and executive candidates will be required to submit a “statement of intent” that asks candidates who they are, why they are running, and what their platform is.

“[The statement of intent] is basically describing the candidates that are running for election, so whoever is voting can know who the candidate is,” Brown said.

Statements will be posted as candidate profiles on the university website, the bill says, as well as on voting pages during election day.

Another change to elections is the addition of senatorial debates alongside those held for presidential and vice presidential candidates.

Situations that may arise during elections are clarified in the bill, such as candidate withdrawal and write-in candidacy.

In other business Wednesday:

  • Student Body President Shelby Rowell announced 2,512 students used Shocker Support Locker from October to April, with nearly 16,000 items given.
  • SGA recognized three graduate teaching assistants as part of its Graduate Assistant of the Year Award. Evan Waite won the award, and Kaitlin Patterson and Rheanna Pierce were finalists.
  • Fine Arts Senator Haley Ensz, Treasurer Stella Yang, and Rowell were granted emeritus status.