Student Association candidates canvass for votes

Dozens of Student Association candidates pushed their “get out the vote” efforts on the first day of elections Wednesday, taking advantage of the mild February weather to pack their campaign teams into campus hotspots.

Campaigners roved Kogan Plaza, stood on street corners and sat outside residence halls passing out palm cards and wearing bright T-shirts bearing the name of their favored candidates since the start of the two-day voting window. More than 70 candidates have declared bids for spots on the SA’s executive team, the SA senate, Marvin Center Governing Board, Program Board and Class Council.

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Yusuf Yilmaz, a freshman candidate for an undergraduate seat in the SA Senate, reaches out to students for their votes Wednesday.

Presidential contender Jeremy Iloulian’s band of supporters were stationed across campus holding laptops so that students could cast their votes.

“We’re getting out the vote. Even if they don’t vote for us, at least they are voting,” Iloulian said.

Freshman and Iloulian supporter Kerry Lanzo stood outside of Thurston Hall with a laptop asking students who passed by the building if they had voted. In one hour, she said 35 students had used her computer to vote.

“Most people don’t even know how to vote. I have been telling them that I am endorsing Jeremy and a little bit about his platform. Most people have been really receptive,” she said.

Hugo Scheckter, a junior who is running for U-At Large, arrived at Kogan Plaza at 8:30 a.m. with 40 boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

Throughout the morning, the junior shuffled from his car, which was plastered with campaign posters, to pull out additional boxes to hand out to students as he talked about his platform.

John Bennett, who is also running for SA president, said he started out with about 1,000 palm cards and 500 buttons to hand out to potential voters. Over the last two weeks, he has worked with dozens of volunteers to knock on doors in residence halls across campus and stand outside large lecture classes to pass out campaign information.

“Word of mouth is the most effective campaign you can run and I’m making that abundantly clear to my supporters. We’re counting on big returns from that strategy,” Bennett said.

Chair of the Joint Elections Committee Phil Gardner said candidates were permitted to “dorm-storm” for a total of 12 hours over four days. In past years, candidates had just two hours in one night, rules that he said encouraged campaigners to visit only Thurston, the largest residence hall on campus.

“This permits more one-on-one contact, and that’s really what we want,” Gardner said.

One day into the elections, Gardner said no violations have been filed against the top two SA posts, though all candidates running for these positions have been approached by members of the JEC for minor violations, such as when a supporter posts a campaign website on another student’s Facebook page.

“When we see a candidate breaking a rule, we let that candidate know,” Gardner said. “This is why I’ve been able to prevent any major incidents. We’re trying to problem-solve in a way that involves less paperwork and bureaucracy.”

Gardner, who ran for SA president last year, said if he had been caught committing the same minor infractions then, he would have received a violation. But this year, the JEC is pursuing only violations reported by students outside the committee.

Two candidates running for senate received violations, Gardner said, but he declined to provide specifics because the candidates had yet to be officially notified. Hearings for their violations will occur later this week, he said.

Election results will be announced Thursday at 9:30 p.m. in the Media and Public Affairs Building.

Sarah Ferris contributed to this report

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