Executive branch election withdrawals extends election

The ASWSUV presidential elections for the 2015-16 school year have made history at Washington State University Vancouver. For the first time in history, both candidates in the elections officially withdrew from the race 15 days before the elections, garnering an immediate response from ASWSUV.

ASWSUV held an emergency elections board committee meeting on Feb. 18. During the meeting, ASWSUV President David Choi said that there were two ways of approaching the issue. The elections could go on as planned with no breaks, concluding before the week of spring break, or executive elections could be extended in order to make sure that the elected candidates will represent the student population properly. Mike White, elections board chairman, said if the election period is not extended and there is not at least one candidate running for the executive branch, both executive positions would go to write-in candidates.

Senators and committee members alike had several concerns and doubts regarding both options. One committee member said that during the entire election process, 90% of candidate applications had not been submitted until the last day, relating the statistic to a possible time extension. Senator Ilana Brown said that a potential extension would be applied to all branches of government, and not exclusively to the executive branch. Brown asked, “How do we explain [the time extensions] to the [other] candidates?” White said that his goal was to reach a decision at the senate meeting that night, and that the current elections should be postponed for two weeks, as suggested by a fellow committee member. In that time, another ad campaign encouraging students to run for executive office could begin.

Several people at the elections board meeting asked whether or not current candidates running for a senatorial position could switch over to the executive ticket, which the election board committee allowed. Senator Samy Reel said that it should be made clear that, “If you move from senate to executive [branch], you are no longer a part of the senate [ticket],” a motion which passed unanimous. It was also ruled that if a senatorial candidate officially transitions over to the executive ticket, that candidate will be unable to continue running their campaign until after attending an orientation for the executive race.

During the Feb. 18 senate meeting, White and other members from the election board committee presented their unanimous proposal to re-open the filing period for the executive ticket and extend the election process overall. White emphasized that without implementing these changes, a write-in candidate for student body president and vice president would have been allowed. After further discussion between the senators, a majority ruled in favor of this change. The filing period has been re-opened from Feb. 23 to March 6, when candidates are required to attend an orientation before they can officially start campaigning. The senators also moved and passed a motion applying these same requirements to candidates currently running for the senatorial ticket, in order to prevent an unfair time advantage.

Senator Shores asked whether or not the elections board foresaw “any problems for these people running for president and vice president,” considering that the week of spring break few students will be on campus. Phil Babcock, student involvement specialist at OSI, said that candidates would have a week prior to spring break to campaign.

One week after changes were made, White said at the Feb. 25 senate meeting that while “I don’t want to talk too soon… it looks like we might have seven to eight executive tickets” running for election. White said that he has personally avoided looking up the exact number of candidates running, not wanting to “say ‘seven to eight, that’s enough’,” keeping himself motivated to find as many potential candidates as possible. White said that “this extra time has been a blessing,” increasing the amount of advertisement of the executive election on campus. White says that advertisement is being worked on ahead of time; there are plans to put up full banners across campus as well as producing a radio loop on the radio station KOUG Radio, encouraging students to vote.

For more information on the election changes, go to www.orgsync.com or www.ASWSUV.com

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