Rules set for election time

By Susan Kantor

By Susan Kantor

Contributing writer

Elections will be held for the Illinois Student Senate, the Student Organization Resource Fee (SORF), Board and the Student Trustee on March 7 and 8. The Student Election Commission regulates these organizations.

“I select a qualified group of graduate students to sit on the board in order to oversee the elections and to hear any election-related complaints,” said David Eisenberg, co-chair of the Student Election Commission.Elections will be held for the Illinois Student Senate, the Student Organization Resource Fee (SORF), Board and the Student Trustee on March 7 and 8. The Student Election Commission regulates these organizations.

“I select a qualified group of graduate students to sit on the board in order to oversee the elections and to hear any election-related complaints,” said David Eisenberg, co-chair of the Student Election Commission. “After the election we announce the results and have a hearing to adjudicate any complaints.”

The commission regulates the student elections, makes rules governing the election process and enforces those rules, said Hassen Al-Shawaf, graduate student and a student senator on the Illinois Student Senate.

“The rules we enforce basically allow equal access to the governing bodies and referenda and ensure a fair election process,” Eisenberg said. “The (commission’s) stance is to encourage as many qualified candidates to run as possible. By limiting spending, for example, we ensure that a student with limited means still has access to the system.”

Rules also prohibit slating, in which a group of people runs together on the same platform. These rules against slating are meant to deter friends from running together or from giving candidates unfair advantages. This means candidates new to student government will not have a disadvantage compared to the candidates that are already experienced in student government, said Ryan Ruzic, co-president of the senate and junior in LAS.

There are also guidelines to deal with registered student organizations, such as the College Democrats or College Republicans, and their endorsements of candidates. Each organization can only endorse one candidate, even if there are two candidates that have no contact with each other.

Spending limits are also included in the guidelines. Student Senate candidate campaigns have a cap of $150, while the Student Trustee has a cap of $500. However, the commission interprets what is considered spending money.

“If a candidate sends an e-mail, they need to calculate how much an e-mail costs the University and record it,” Ruzic said.

This is considered to be a cost to the University, even if e-mail is provided as a free service to students.

If a complaint is filed against a candidate, there is a possibility the charge can be dismissed. If the charge is not dismissed, the candidate may have to pay a fine before taking office or the candidacy may be invalidated. The commission deals with each infringement case by case.

In some aspects, the rules set by the commission are seen as beneficial to the election process.

“(The commission’s rules) keep the playing ground level and don’t allow multiple candidates to run on the same platform,” said Humair Sabir, senior in Business and vice president of the Student Senate. “I think some sort of leveling the field is necessary.”

However, Ruzic said he believes the commission sometimes misinterprets the rules.

“I think that the easiest way for the election to be run better is for the Student Election Commission to interpret the rules reasonably,” Ruzic said. “They do make many of the campaign rules. They’re given a constitution. They make the rules.”