More than 100 student leadership candidates and campaign volunteers hung posters outside four campus buildings in pouring rain Friday afternoon, kicking off the publicity blitz before this week’s election.
Unlike past years, when campaigners staked out locations for hours prior to hanging time, students were not allowed to go near the locations until one hour before the official postering period began. Student Association, Program Board and Marvin Center Governing Board candidates postered outside the Marvin Center, Funger Hall, the Academic Center and Monroe Hall.
“Last year, no loitering rule existed, leaving many volunteers sleeping outside the night before,” said sophomore Mark Dexter, a Joint Election Committee member. “Some students were loitering around before five and did not move. As a result, charges have been brought up on certain candidates.”
Several candidates from the eight-person SA presidential and six-person executive vice presidential fields arrived with dozens of volunteers, packing the Marvin Center H Street terrace.
Complaints regarding loitering and premature distribution of campaign materials were filed against three presidential candidates, Kris Hart, Jon McDaniel and Steve Sobel, but the JEC has yet to rule on the counts against Sobel and Hart. Two of McDaniel’s counts have been dismissed, with three complaints pending.
If candidates garner eight violations they are kicked out of the race.
Elections are set for Wednesday and Thursday and a probable runoff is scheduled for March 6 and 7. A presidential and vice presidential candidate need to garner 40 percent of the vote to prevent a runoff.
There will be seven voting stations, including locations on Mount Vernon Campus, the Marvin Center’s ground floor computer lab, Thurston Hall, the Hall of Government, the second floor of Funger Hall, the Law School and the medical school.
Online voting will be used in all places, except in certain cases for Law School students.
“Many law students do not have gwu.edu email accounts, which are the basis of the GWeb system. Those without (accounts) can vote by paper,” JEC Chair Christina Vamvas said.
Campaigners said they were unfazed by the weather Friday.
“I got here at exactly five o’clock to support Christina Trotta. She’s an excellent senator and I believe in her,” sophomore Kunzul Khan said of the current undergraduate Columbian College of Arts and Sciences senator.
Many candidates expressed concerns about the rain but continued to poster outside the Marvin Center, returning the following morning to re-post.
JEC officials viewed the rain as a potential cause for student injury.
Some candidates expressed concern over the lack of space, and many arguments arose over special reservations made by certain candidates.
“Someone bigger than me from the Anyah Dembling campaign knocked me over,” said sophomore Michael Sheba, a volunteer for the Evan Pinsonnault campaign for undergraduate CCAS senator
“This did not go very well. I got here at six and I can’t find any spaces at all in the MC area,” said junior Blythe Purdin, a candidate for the undergraduate MCGB seat.
The JEC sets limits to the size and quantity of candidate posters.
Overall, JEC officials said they were pleased with the outcome of Friday’s poster rush.
“I’ve got to commend everyone here. It’s been really civil at this location,” said freshman JEC member Peter Feldman at Funger Hall.
Trotta, Dan Moss and Ken Anderson also filed suit against the JEC in Student Court on Wednesday.
“The JEC passed a rule where you could only use the name you have through the registrar’s office on your ballot. I would have had to run as ‘Kenneth,'” Anderson said. “Apparently, someone tried to run as ‘Phil Robinson,’ which caused the JEC to make the rule.”
The Student Court ruled in favor of the candidates, allowing the JEC to decide what is an illegal deviation of a candidate’s name. Vamvas noted some names have been approved since Thursday, while some others requested by candidates were not.
-Thane Tuttle contributed to this report.