It’s that time of year to decide who should govern the Associated Students for the 2007-2008 academic year.
The 2007 Associated Students Elections are April 25-26. The student vote determines the Associated Student Board of Directors for the following year.
Candidate forums are scheduled on April 23 from 7-8 p.m. in Viking Union 565 and April 24 from 7-8 p.m. in Communications Facility 25. The forums act as the last chance all candidates can speak together.
Prior to elections candidates campaign in Red Square and other parts of campus with flyers, posters and by communicating with students. Campaigning and election standards are established in the Election Code set by the Associated Students Election Committee.
If a candidate thinks the code has been violated, a grievance may be filed. In the past, these grievances have varied from candidates putting the posters in another candidate’s spot, to candidates starting to campaign too early.
“This is a way to ensure fair elections,” said Molly Ayre-Svingen, Associated Student Elections Coordinator. “But, at the same time, we don’t want to turn it in to a thing where people do this instead of talking to each other.”
Ayre-Svingen said that the candidates this year are more willing to talk to each other if there are issues.
“I’ve talked to people about how grievances are not an election strategy,” said Ayre-Svingen. “There is that potential for it to eclipse the elections and make it more about grievances. That’s not what it’s about. This is about students and electing the person that you think should do the job.”
Two grievances that have occurred within the last two years were one surrounding a candidate last year who did not meet all the detailed requirements for filing the receipts on time. This was due to an error within the election code. Only part of the election was listed on the financial statements. This led to a re-examination of the code and the candidate was determined eligible.
In the previous year’s grievance, candidate Tony Russo was charged for dishonesty while campaigning. The candidate was disqualified later for multiple grievances and violation against the code.
Ayre-Svingen acts as a resource for candidates if they have any questions regarding the election code. Ayre-Svingen also provides candidates with directions on where to go if the election code needs further interpretation. This sort of availability provided by Ayre-Svingen is a step to help candidates avoid acquiring grievances.
Besides grievances being filed, other election issues can occur. Ayre-Svingen said last year both human and technical errors came up with the online voting system. The time entered on the form for the electronic ballot was incorrect, and the online voting polls closed down earlier than scheduled.
Processing the votes takes a whole team of people. For instance, there is five people part of the web management working on the web site.
“Online voting is pretty tough actually. It’s useful and easy and in real time,” said Ayre-Svingen. “The problem is that there are so many different areas for making mistakes like last year.”
Students can either vote online on the MyWestern homepage, or in person during the election days in Red Square, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., or by absentee ballot.
More information about the AS Elections can be found online at gov.as.wwu.edu/2007-election and from Molly Ayre-Svingen in VU 520.