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UISG loosens campaign rules

BY EMILY MELVOLD | MARCH 31, 2009 7:30 AM

UI Student Government campaigns are back — and the rules are less restrictive.

Several changes were made to this year’s elections code — a nearly eight-page long document — and many loosen the rules candidates need to follow throughout their campaigns, said UI Student Elections Board member Andrew Doster.

This year’s Student Elections Code doubled the amount of money a full slate of two at-large senatorial candidates, vice president, and president can use during the campaign process — from $1,500 last year to $3,000 this year.

The monetary cap for Senate candidates remains the same at $300.

“I don’t see why we should limit the candidates, when they’re trying to get people involved in the process,” Doster said.

Go Party UISG presidential candidate Mike Currie agreed with Doster.

“I’ve been on campaigns for the last three years and advocating for fewer restrictions,” he said. “The point of UISG is to involve the campus, not make it more difficult to do so.”

Last year, the Student Elections Board received a formal complaint accusing one UISG party of overspending, but the group was found to have spent under the maximum amount allowed.

Each party is required to submit its receipts to the board when the election ends.

Another alteration to the code is a decrease in the number of signatures needed by president and vice president hopefuls to become official candidates. The number of signatures needed this year is 300 — down from 500 last year.

“Everybody liked the increased spending amount and the decreased number of signatures needed,” Doster said.

Emily Grieves, the presidential candidate for Your Party, said she likes the new rule allowing chalking on all sidewalks adjacent to city streets — a campaign strategy banned in previous years even though those sidewalks belong to the city, not the university.

Before spring break, one senator proposed a change to make voting for senators “at-large,” meaning the 29 senators with the most votes would win seats. Previously, the election process ensured a senator from certain departments a seat. Some seats regarding minority groups, like a representative for disabled students, are still appointed instead of voted on.

“The changes were a move in the right direction,” Grieves said.

Doster said the Student Elections Board encountered some violations of the elections code last year. He recalled an incident in which campaign members used a megaphone near the Chemistry Building to tell students about their party, with people complaining the action was disruptive.

“For the most part, everyone is pretty good and follows the rules,” the UI senior said.
This year’s three UISG parties are Go Party, L Party, and Your Party. The presidential candidate for the L Party did not return calls Monday.

Campaigning opened on Monday, and it will run through April 14 at 5 p.m., when the election polls close. Voting begins at 12:01 a.m. April 13.


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