At senate on Oct. 24, College Government (CG) announced that it is beginning the application process for new members of Elections Committee in November instead of waiting until the spring semester. At the following senate, College Government President (CGP) Zainab Younus ’17 addressed senators and students at large announcing applications are tentatively planned to go out Wednesday, Nov. 2. College Government plans to have elections committee formed tentatively by the end of November.
Elections Committee is responsible for ensuring that elections week runs smoothly. This includes planning candidate debates and acting as the deciding body if problems arise during elections week.
Students at large are selected for Elections Committee through the Students Organizations and Appointments Committee (SOAC). Two senators are elected to serve on elections committee by the senate body. All members of College Government Cabinet (except Chief Justice) serve on Elections Committee if they are not running for a position on cabinet that year. Elections Committee is chaired by the CGP and the CPLA Chair if they are not running for a cabinet position. If the CPLA Chair is running for a cabinet position, the CGP will select a senior member of cabinet to be the co-chair.
Last year, unforeseen circumstances rose during spring elections, resulting in a need to revise the Elections Handbook given to candidates at the start of the elections process. According to the former Senator of WZLY and former Elections Committee senate representative, Sam Lanevi ’18, there were discussions in Elections Committee last semester about how to make the handbook clearer.
“I believe they did want to make some changes based on what happened last year to make things more clear in regards to who on your team is accountable and reflects the team,” said Lanevi.
Since last elections, there has been some revisions that will go into effect for the special elections for Secretary-Treasurer occurring this week.
“Thus, far we have made revisions to clarify and to restate what constitutes violations. This has been in effect for this round of special elections,” said Younus in a written statement.
Usually, Elections Committee for elections is selected in the spring semester. Last election season Elections Committee was selected in February. According to Lanevi, since Elections Committee was formed so close to elections, there was no time to adequately train members on how to respond to circumstances that may arise.
“We had no training beforehand. We were sent the Elections Committee manual, but other than that, we didn’t have any training last year,” said Lanevi.
Although Lanevi believes that no one could have been prepared for what occurred last election season, she believes it is good that Elections Committee is being selected earlier so those not involved in CG can get acquainted with the procedures surrounding elections.
“If you weren’t part of a campaign or you don’t know someone who is a part of a campaign, it’s a very opaque process,” commented Lanevi.
Younus echoes Lanevi stating in her written statement that by having Elections Committee selected in the fall, there will be more time to plan for unforeseen circumstances that may arise during election season.
“Having created the committee at the end of the Fall semester allows us more time to fine tune the details and ensure that we have as much planned as possible. Of course given the nature of elections, things come up that are not spelled out in the handbook and is therefore up to the discretion of EC to decide at that moment,” wrote Younus.
While addressing Senate on Oct. 31, Younus stated that Elections Committee would tentatively meet once before the end of the fall semester and once a week for an hour in the spring leading up to elections. Elections week would consume the most time for representatives on Elections Committee since they must attend the debates and facilitate elections events.
So far, changes to the handbook for the special elections have not been made publicly available to the student body. Students can currently find the handbook from last year on The College Government Elections google site.
Younus has mentioned that student feedback is welcomed and encouraged. “As the process is still ongoing, please keep a lookout for opportunities on how feedback can be given in regards to the elections process.”
Students interested in applying to serve on Elections Committee should contact Zainab Younus at her positional email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Zoe Iacovino, CPLA Chair and Co-Chair of Elections Committee at email@example.com.