Elections looms for SGA executive board hopefuls

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On Feb. 27, the Saint Louis University student body will have the opportunity to elect the new Student Government Association executive board and senators for the upcoming school year. 

Elections are facilitated by the election commission. It exists to ensure that the election remains fair and impartial to all slates and individuals. Campaigns are monitored in hopes that the playing field is level throughout the campaign period. The commission aims to protect the merit of each candidate and the issues at hand.

Current election commissioner Kathleen Cadigan explains that the commission strives to keep the senate and executive board separate.

“In the past, the elections have been very executive board-centric, which is not fair to those wishing to run for a senate position,” Cadigan said. “We want to encourage just as many people to run for senate and not let them be discouraged from the e-board tickets.”

Each year, members of the commission are chosen by the election commissioner based on an application open to the whole student body. Cadigan heads the commission of eight. It includes SLU seniors Julia Charles, Anelga Doumanian, Christopher Fidler, Ashley Garcia, James Meiners, Krishi Peddada, Caroline Rutledge and Andrew Stevens.

To qualify for the election commissioner position, a candidate must have previously taken part in an election. According to Cadigan, this is one of the most important criteria.

”The election can become very technical, and unless you have been involved in it, you would not know such details,” Cadigan said.

For instance, the breaching of campaign regulations can be categorized into three tiers of violations.

Based on the type of violation, a sanction is agreed upon and issued by the commission as a whole. In response, a sanction can be appealed.

Financial restrictions contribute to the comprehensive regulations. Candidates for senate positions can spend no more than $100 on their campaign.

Non-independent Vice-Presidential candidates, who enjoy endorsement from a ticket, can spend $200. Independent Vice-Presidential candidates are allowed a budget of $500. Presidential candidates have budgets of $300 and $500, respectively.

The Building Bridges campaign that swept last year’s elections heavily utilized social media. Current SGA President Matt Ryan recalls that the feedback was positive and the videos furthered their campaign and promoted their platform to a greater extent than if the videos were absent.

When asked if Ryan had advice for students interested in running for a position, he said, “to have fun, keep things in perspective, and always keep in mind who you are representing and running to represent.”

Ryan and his board are optimistic about the future and the potential for an executive board to whom they can pass the torch. A good, smooth transition is important, he said. Still, the present SGA executive board has four months left in their offices.

The existence of an established polling place is a new addition to the election process. Cadigan said that there will be new additions to the election process, but would not release details. However, she said that it should provide an exciting election.

“Students will really like what we have in store, so stay tuned,” Cadigan said.

Those interested in running for an SGA position should attend an informational session next week.

Sessions will be held on Thursday, Jan. 19, and Sunday, Jan. 22 at 7:00 p.m. in Room 253C in the Busch Student Center.