ASI candidates limited in campaign budget

Maikalina Madali

The campaigning budget established for each individual running in the Associated Students Inc. Student Government Elections prompt candidates to be selective on what they decide to spend money on.

“The maximum campaign expenditure limits are meant to provide a fair and even playing field,” said ASI Executive Director Pat Worley. “It restricts candidates that may have a greater amount of money available to support their campaign expenditures from dominating over others that may not have the financial resources.”

According to the ASI 2012 Elections Code, a candidate running for an executive position receives the limit of $500 and a candidate running for a board position has a limit of $250.

Campaign expenses consist of money candidates earn or receive themselves. Any contributions, gifts, discounts or donations offered by other individuals are included in the total of expenditures. There are no restrictions on how much an individual source can contribute.

The policy is reviewed and determined by the ASI Board of Directors each year. After that, the maximum campaign expenditure limits are set.

“Executive limits are higher because they have a larger constituency to reach all students,” Worley said. “Directors have a smaller constituency because only the students in the given colleges can vote for the director that represents their college.”

Candidates are not allowed to combine their spending limits or promote one another in support of each other’s campaigns.

Over the years, there has not been much fluctuation in the amounts allotted for the candidates. The current budget has been in place for more than five years and the limit before then was of lesser value.

“Candidates are not required to spend any money if they don’t want to,” Worley said. “Spending over the maximum allowable limit may result in someone filing an elections complaint against them.”

The limitations force candidates to prioritize on how his or her money is spent and what will be the most beneficial manner in doing so.

Junior business major Geqigula “GQ” Dlamini is running for ASI executive vice president and has limited himself on how his allowance will be spent.

For his campaign, Dlamini has roughly spent $100 on boards and its necessities, $130 on T-shirts and $120 on fliers and miscellaneous merchandise thus far.

“These have been the major expenses so far, but along the way there are miscellaneous expenditures which collectively may be significant,” Dlamini said.

Dlamini said even if the amount was less than the $500 limit, he would be able to operate his campaign just as well.

“($500) is not a small amount of money,” Dlamini said. “There are many ways of achieving a lot without unnecessary spending on everything.”

In addition to the limit on campaign expenditure, ASI also upholds strict rules on campaigning material and placement.

Candidates are only allowed a total of four signs or banners no larger than 4-by-4 feet long, including whatever is supporting the sign. Only two of those signs are permitted to be posted in the Library Quad, one is allowed between Shasta Hall and University Drive and one in the grass area by Benicia Hall.

Any ASI resources, materials, websites, logos or other digital items ASI has rights to, cannot be used without approval of the ASI Board.

Every piece of campaigning material must clearly show the name of the candidate who is distributing it.

Although all of these factors are a vital part of running in an election, Dlamini believes it will not secure a victory without actions to accompany it.

“While the signs, fliers and T-shirts are important for ongoing campaigning, they must be used in conjunction with interpersonal contact,” Dlamini said.

Maikalina Madali can be reached at [email protected].