ASI keeps election candidates away from media before campaign

Maikalina Madali

Associated Students Inc. potential candidates for the spring 2012 elections are recommended to refrain from speaking to the media, under any circumstances, before the designated campaigning period.

“Any candidate that was promoting themselves as a candidate via statements in The State Hornet would be open to an election complaint stating they were campaigning prior to the official onset of the campaign period, “ said ASI Executive Director Patricia Worley.

According to Article V of the ASI Elections Code, candidates are not permitted to begin campaigning until 30 days before the first day of voting. Students who plan to be a candidate cannot make their intention of doing so known to the public.

“Early sharing of their candidacy would give them an unfair advantage with letting other voters know they are running for office before other candidates are allowed to,” Worley said.

The Election Code defines campaigning as distributing any promotional publication materials or making public announcements in regards to the election or candidates.

Potential ASI candidates did not wish to speak to State Hornet reporters when asked for comments during an election workshop. They were advised to be aware of the policy and cautious of what information they offer to the public, which would endanger their eligibility.

Current ASI President Laura Gonzalez, a senior government and women’s studies major, believes it is the responsibility of all candidates to know what actions are considered acceptable under the Election Code.

“If a candidate is asked to speak about a project, research or student activity they are involved in without mentioning ASI Elections or interest in running for ASI election, I believe that it is acceptable,” Gonzalez said. “Yet any candidate that chooses to do so should also be aware that students, colleagues or other qualified candidates may see this as unfair campaigning and they can proceed to address this concern by filing an election complaint.”

Beyond campus grounds, campaigning in the governmental arena is far from the restrictions of this policy. Political campaigns have no beginning or end in terms of the time candidates are allowed to reach out to the public.

ASI, on the other hand, does not give potential candidates the flexibility to campaign.

“If the students were to state that they are running for a position on the ASI Board of Directors in the spring election and you printed a story with that news, they now have an early start in letting the student voters know that they are running for a board position,” Worley said.

As of today, potential candidates have prepared themselves through the election clinics, mandatory workshops and official submission. The elections campaign period is scheduled to begin on April 2.

“I believe having a campaign period clearly defined is necessary to ensure fair campaigning and equal opportunity for all candidates to have a successful campaign,” Gonzalez said. “We want to ensure all ASI Elections are fair and represent the student voice.”

Maikalina Madali can be reached at [email protected].