New bylaws change race, disallow coupons
Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 13:02
In years past, all campaign information went public the Monday of election week, giving students four days to decide which students will represent USU for the next year.
With the new changes, this year candidates were allowed to begin using social media to announce their candidacy and their office platform last Monday, a full week prior to election week.
This and many other changes to the ASUSU bylaws are changing the election process at USU.
“Social media is much more important this year,” said Abigail Kingsford, the ASUSU public relations director. “We have expanded the time candidates are allowed to campaign on social media by one week and most candidates have responded favorably to that.”
Candidates for 2013 are using social media more than ever before, said Alanna Hill, the assistant director of student services. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr have been used to post pictures, videos and campaign logos.
“This year we are also launching new voting software,” Kingsford said. “The old software was difficult to use and did not fulfill the needs of our growing campus. With this new software we will be able to have multiple elections running simultaneously. Additionally, the new website will provide more information about the candidates when students log-on to vote. This software is extremely user-friendly and should help increase the number of students who vote this year.”
The website was designed to be viewed from any desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone or other device. Students can access it at www.vote.usu.edu.
“Everyone loves and hates elections week because that’s when you get all the free handouts,” said Hannah Blackburn, the ASUSU activities director. “This year we have cut that out of the bylaws and only buttons and flyers are allowed to be distributed.”
Sections allowing giveaways from candidates have been eliminated from the election bylaws because ASUSU felt they were a direct contradiction to the no-bribery clause, according to Kingsford. Candidates may have as many items as they deem necessary donated to their campaign as long as they remain within their budget constraints.
“We’ve always known the bylaws needed to be reviewed to make sure everything was fair,” Blackburn said. “This past summer we went through the bylaws to try to organize everything and make sure there are clear-cut rules. This has made it a lot easier for us to clearly define when there is a situation in question to know that the bylaws will have an up to date answer for us.”
Despite the changes to the bylaws, the number of candidates running for office has not decreased. In fact, the number of 2013 declared candidates has grown.
“There are more candidates this year versus last year because we really made a concerted effort to advertise early and as much as possible for upcoming elections,” Kingsford said. “The current officers put forth a big effort to recruit qualified individuals to run for their positions. Many of the candidates have not been directly involved with ASUSU, so they will have a fresh perspective on the way ASUSU normally does things. All of this combined gave us a great turnout this year.”
Students can review the 2013 ASUSU candidates and their platforms at usu.edu/ asusu/candidates.
“We understand that as times change, our bylaws are going to need to be updated,” Kingsford said. “We made changes to areas that we thought were outdated in the hope that this process will not have to be repeated in the near future. Students will now have more time to become familiar with the candidates and more time to decide who they want to vote for.”