Student Senate

Student government elections delayed

The Student Senate held a special meeting on March 21 through Webex to approve changes to the Student Government Election Handbook made to accommodate the transition to online classes. The changes included moving Student Government elections to Thursday, April 2, as well as updating the nomination procedure to allow for online gathering and submission. The Senate also discussed the third-party voting systems that are being considered for online elections.

The updated handbook’s only change is the creation of Article IV, which is meant to overrule other sections of the handbook if “it is no longer possible to hold elections in person, whether electronically or by paper,” as written in the new article. The other articles of the handbook remained unedited.

The first part of Article IV focuses on updating the timeline for elections. Elections will now be held on Thursday, April 2—though the handbook states this date is subject to change if there are “Elections System Restrictions.” The article also removed primary elections and added three new information sessions that were held through Webex. Candidates’ final expense forms are now due April 3 and nomination forms due Friday.

Article IV updates the nomination procedure; if a candidate has already attended an information session, they will report all collected nominations to the elections website.

If the number of nominations a candidate has is less than half of the required nominations, the candidate must serve two hours of community service helping the election committee during the fall elections. If the candidate has over half but less than the required nominations, they must serve one.

The handbook outlines that the community service requirement does not apply to anyone who will be not on campus during the Fall 2020 semester.

Elections Commission Chairperson Keenan Adams ’21 described the change to service hours as a way to “keep everything as simple as possible” and that “we [the Election Committee] want to collect any nominations that have been submitted.”

Additionally, if a new candidate for any elected position does not meet the nomination requirement, Adams confirmed in an email to The Polytechnic that they would still be subject to the same service hours requirement as existing candidates.

Adams added that the service hour requirements “was meant to be its own section” and it “applies to every candidate,” calling the lack of a specific section for service hours a “minor issue.” As per the handbook, minor revisions to the document can be made by the Elections Commission with the approval of the grand marshal.

If any new candidates want to run for grand marshal, president of the Union, or undergraduate president, they “must show requisite effort in collecting as many online nominations as possible decided on a case by case basis by the EC,” according to the updated handbook.

The online nominations would consist of the last three digits of the nominator’s RIN and their RCS ID, which is consistent with the paper nomination form.

Regarding the online nomination process required of grand marshal, president of the Union, or undergraduate president candidates, Adams called it, “difficult for someone to do so, but it will be possible.”

Adams described the ability to collect RIN information online as “questionable” and said that he was “getting in contact with people trying to figure out if it was acceptable.”.

The motion “to approve and enact the changes to the Student Government Elections Policy” was passed unanimously by the Senate.