Three tickets contend for SGA election



Greg Doyle

The Student Government Association campaigns are in full swing with three determined tickets vying to be elected student body president and vice president for the 2010-’11 school year. 

The three tickets are Craig Durrant and Tom Murphy; Bridget Halligan and Allison Webb; and Will Hebard and John Dunham.  

Although official campaigning began last Thursday, March 11, the prospective presidents and vice presidents have been rallying supporters, soliciting input and establishing their respective platforms for months.  

Candidates must petition for consideration as tickets before they can partake in the campaign process. 

Each pairing must gather 400 signatures on behalf of their running for office. 

This first step often reveals how committed a ticket is to the election, according to Tom Mogan, director of Student Development. 

“We ask each of the candidates to submit campaign goals and methods,” Mogan said. “In general, campaigns usually involve trying to connect with students and listening to their concerns and issues.” 

Each ticket is limited to $300 for its campaign efforts, which include T-shirts, buttons, posters and flyers. Previously, elections could only spend $200, but the University found the candidates struggled to stay within these regulations, according to Mogan. 

“Campaigns should be more about personality, passion and experience versus who can make the most out of his or her resources,” Mogan said. 

Some of the most effective forms of campaigning are actually free. Each ticket has launched its own Facebook page advocating its election. 

With hundreds of fans each, candidates’ campaigns and platforms are omnipresent. 

Strong campus presence is the most essential element in a campaign, according to Mogan. 

Tickets and their campaign teams have occupied the Oreo all week, introducing themselves to the student body and raising awareness of their platforms and the election in general. 

Candidates must abide by a strict guide of campaign rules, overseen by the Election Commission. 

“We regulate the election rules and make sure no one’s breaking them so that it’s a fair campaign,” said Tahir Qadeer, a member of the Election Commission. “We monitor flyers and campaign hours and if someone violates the rules, the Election Commission is notified and tickets are penalized.” 

Where tickets can hang their flyers and when and how they can campaign are all outlined and monitored by the Election Commission.  

Penalties vary depending on the severity of the violation. Minor infractions, such as poster and campaign hour infringements, warrant warnings on their first offense and a possible loss of campaign time and percentage of posters if it persists.  

Major infractions, such as destruction of other tickets’ posters and severely exceeding the campaign budget, could cost a ticket an entire day’s worth of campaigning or a deduction of votes.  

Tickets are able to present their platforms and answer questions from the audience during the debate, which was held last night. 

Select members from different aspects of campus –– such as Greek Life, Campus Ministry and other prominent University organizations –– serve as a panel to ask each candidate a series of questions.  

Despite the debate’s low attendance in the past, the number of voters during the elections has risen, according to Mogan. 

In 2009, 2,720 students voted in the election, compared to the 2,154 votes received in 2008. 

All tickets expressed interest in seeing a rise in the number of votes for this year’s election, according to Mogan. 

Elections will begin at noon on March 23 and close at noon on March 24.