ASA approves new election code for 2018 campaign


The Augustana Student Association Senate members approved a revised election code last month before the upcoming ASA presidential election. 

Last year, the Personnel and Development Committee, which manages ASA elections, noticed parts of the election code were no longer relevant to today’s elections. 

Instead of reviewing the code for grammatical changes, they decided to make larger changes to the document, ensuring clearer guidelines for future elections. 

ASA President Katelyn Graber said the changes include the replacement of the South Side senator with a freshman international student senator, allowing candidates to directly share the voting link from Viking Central. The changes also give clearer guidelines for where campaigning is allowed and adds more students to the election commission. 

Graber said that the South Side senator position did not seem necessary anymore because 40 freshmen now live on North Side in Tuve. 

Previously, the South Side senator could be any freshman student who lived in Bergsaker or Solberg, Graber said. image4 (7)

Tia McKillip, the senior senator who proposed the change, suggested that a first-year international student should hold the seat instead.

“We have two positions set aside for international students,” said Graber. “But it is pretty difficult for a freshman to win when upperclassmen, who are more well known around campus, usually get those positions.” 

Freshman Senator Hank Freese agreed with Graber. 

“International students play a big role on our campus,” Freese said. “Being a freshman and running for senate is difficult enough as it is, but having a specific position for a freshman international student ensures the voices of the entire freshman population will be heard.” 

Graber said that the senate also decided to allow candidates to directly share their voting links with students.

Previously, candidates were not allowed to directly share their voting link via social media or email. 

Candidates would work around this rule by sharing the link to Viking Central with instructions to find the voting link. 

Graber said that ASA did not see an issue with distributing the voting link because the senate wants candidates to reach as many students as possible.

ASA Vice President Luke Hurley said the change makes it easier for students to vote.

“Students appreciate things that are fast and easy for them, so sharing the voting link on social media just makes things more convenient,” Hurley said. “It will hopefully encourage more students to vote because the link is just a click away.”

ASA also decided to change an out-of-date rule that limited where candidates were allowed to campaign. 

Previously, when voting at a ballot box occurred on campus, no campaigning was allowed within 100 feet of the ballot box. 

The term “ballot box” is no longer relevant since voting was switched over to Viking Central in 2015, allowing ASA to dissolve the rule. 

“Because voting is now held online, voting takes place virtually everywhere,” Hurley said. “We felt as though the rule about where campaigning was allowed was no longer relevant.”

image5 (5)Now, presidential candidates can campaign everywhere except the voting table outside of the ASA office during elections. 

The election code states that campaigning and the use of campaign signs and literature distribution at the voting station is strictly prohibited. 

 Junior senator Grace Fjellanger said the senate decided that no more than three ASA senators can serve on the Election Commission. 

The Election Commission oversees elections on campus and is made up of five to ten members. Fjellanger said the decision to limit the number of ASA members on the commission and to add more students outside of the senate will lead to more open elections. 

image11 (4)“There is a possibility of bias entering the election if the Election Commission is composed of all senate members,” said Fjellanger. “I think this change will be an excellent opportunity for other students who are interested in what ASA does, but do not want to run or be on the full senate to have the chance to participate. The alterations to the election code will help us continue running honest and fair elections.” 

The revised election code will be used for the first time in the upcoming elections this April.

As of Mar. 20, no candidates for the 2018-2019 president or vice president had registered. The deadline for registration is today, Mar. 23.

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