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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ASUA revamps Election Code

    The ASUA Senate approved the student goverment’s 2008 Elections Code in a 5-4 vote last night, in the process mandating new restrictions on candidates’ campaign materials.

    Candidates are now unable to create Facebook groups, Web sites, T-shirts, posters, buttons or anything else viewed as “”campaign materials”” without approval from Amy Adamcin, ASUA elections commissioner, and the election commission.

    Students are also restricted from placing more than one name on campaign materials and will not be able to vote if they have outstanding fees or have not yet paid tuition.

    This restriction sparked conversation and concerns from various senators, who felt that fees may apply to parking tickets or charges incurred from returning a library book late.

    “”I had some concerns on the restrictions on free speech and disenfranchising the student population from being able to vote,”” said Sen. Dustin Cox, who voted against passing the code. “”Especially since there is so much time until elections, I wanted to table it for further discussion.””

    ASUA will hold elections March 4-5 and 11-12.

    Adamcin said that program fees will not include parking tickets and will rather only involve mandatory fees that every student must pay upon registration.

    “”We can only see if they’re a student or not,”” she said. “”We have no access to whether or not they have paid parking tickets or library fees, so that will not keep them from voting.””

    The code also redefines e-mail as merely “”campaigning,”” meaning e-mails do not need to be approved by the elections commissioner.

    E-mails are “”actions, they’re conversations people have with other people,”” Adamcin said. “”Web sites and Facebook groups are campaign material.””

    The 2008 Elections Code also redefines electronic media to include text messages in unsolicited messages, Adamcin said.

    For a message to not be considered “”unsolicited,”” it must be addressed to specific individuals or clubs, the code states. Spam e-mails or mass messaging is also not permitted.

    Sens. Amy Drapkin, Jason Brian Ernst and James Pennington-McQueen also voted against passing the code, following discussions about the wordings of bylaws and the possibility of tabling the item for further discussion.

    The code is a series of laws that regulate Associated Students of the University of Arizona elections and is revised each year, said Jessica Anderson, executive vice president of the Senate.

    The code’s approval came earlier than usual, said ASUA President Tommy Bruce, because this year’s elections will incorporate informational packets, to be handed out to students by the end of the fall semester, detailing provisions of the code and the election process.

    “”I’m really excited that it passed so early so that potential candidates can find out about the code and prepare their strategies and their campaigns early to have a really good and strong candidate turn out,”” Adamcin said. “”Each senator has their idea of the perfect code, and it’s tough to get 100 percent to agree, but I think this is how I can best serve the students.””

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