Unlike the intense buildup to Student Association elections of previous years, candidates engaged in scaled-back campaigning Wednesday due to new area boundaries for students looking to court votes.
Candidates spread themselves out along H Street in front of Kogan Plaza to talk directly to voters with the help of music, costumes and free handouts on the first day of the SA election. While last year’s Senate and presidential hopefuls fought to distribute campaign material inside an area just outside the Marvin Center, candidates must now keep 50 feet away from the building.
Members of the Joint Elections Committee, which created the new rule, were on hand to ensure that no illegal campaigning was taking place.
“It’s hard enough to get people to vote, now we’re even further away from the Marvin Center,” presidential candidate C.J. Calloway said. “It’s less convenient for the candidates to interact with the students being so far away.”
Ben Traverse, also running for president, said the 50-foot boundary is an improvement from last year.
“I’m glad we don’t have a designated campaign area,” said Traverse, who is running on the Coalition for Reform slate. “Candidates aren’t harassing students like they did last year, and I’m sure if you ask students, they will tell you this year is much more civil.”
The only hitch that occurred on Wednesday was due to the SA’s computer voting system failing to list certain candidates. While paper voting was open at 9 a.m., electronic voting was not available until an hour later when the glitch was fixed.
JEC Chair Justin Neidig said his group has also found probable cause for postering violations against seven Senate candidates. Michelle Tanney, Kirk Haldeman, Tyler Hudson, Jeff Goodman, Timothy Ziese and James Zarsadiaz may face infractions for placing campaign material in illegal locations. Presidential candidate Lamar Thorpe has also been summoned for one such violation.
Another surprise was the decision by Tim Saccoccia (CCAS-U) and Asher Corson to run against lone executive vice presidential candidate Morgan Corr (CCAS-U) as write-in candidates. Corr may be booted from the campaign for having too many campaign violations.
All of Wednesday’s activities seemed much more toned down than last year’s political rush. Although candidates were officially allowed to begin campaigning on Friday, Wednesday was the first time that there has been any major election activity.
Last year’s election saw large throngs of candidates make their push for votes. Several presidential candidates even drove around in cars with megaphones to get their message out, but this week the only mobilized campaigners traveled on a Segway scooter.
Some candidates said they would be reaching out to voters more forcefully Thursday, the second and final day of the SA election.
“You can’t put all your cards out on the first day,” said Calloway, who said he had some “tricks up his sleeves” for Thursday.
Calloway played a hip-hop song made for his campaign with a chorus that echoed, “Vote C.J.” across Kogan Plaza.
“We’ve gone door-to-door a lot, today is our first day campaigning outside,” said Daniel Balke, who is running for an Elliott School of International Affairs Senate seat.
“It’s crazy, everyone is trying to do something different,” added Balke, who sported a homemade shirt that said “Vamos Daniel Balke.”
While Balke said he was enthusiastic about the number of campaigners, some students said the push to win votes was not as intense as last winter.
“It seems to be less than last year,” senior Adam Brikland said. “I just noticed the posters today, and its election day already. I feel like they were getting the word out for two weeks before last year.”
“I don’t really know what any of them stand for,” said junior Matt Meyer, who added that candidates are not doing a good enough job telling students why they should vote.
-Gabriel Okolski contributed to this report.