Darren Zemanek/The Daily EvergreenThe ASWSU Senate unanimously passed a bill Wednesday modifying the constitutional election codes policy.
Bill 41-21 will eliminate filing fees for future candidates and includes new campaigning rules and a new punishment for election code violations.
The ASWSU Judicial Board stated their approval of the bill during the meeting.
“The purpose of this bill is just to tidy up some gray areas that were in the election codes,” said District 1 Sen. James Cockburn. “So we just wanted to prevent some election code violations that we’ve had in past elections.”
The goal of this bill is to eliminate confusion with election codes and to make the upcoming election as clean and non-controversial as possible, he said.
“We also wanted to make some changes that reflected due to the redistricting,” Cockburn said. “A big thing was we wanted to take away the filing fee because it was just unnecessary and provided too much paperwork for the support staff. Also, it can be construed as an impediment to people running. “
Cockburn said he wants students to not be discouraged from running due to their inability to post the filing fee.
“(The bill) clarifies some things that were at an issue last semester,” District 6 Sen. Joey Pacific said. “We had some issues with just the bylaws being very vague, and so this is part of my ongoing project to amend and make the bylaws more consistent.” Darren Zemanek/The Daily Evergreen
The Internal Relations Committee, which sponsored the bill, focused on the selling of campaign material because that was an issue last year, Pacific said.
The selling of campaign material is defined as when students running for office sell items such as t-shirts to advertise their ticket and to fund their campaign.
The committee made sure to include that campaign material can not be sold so as to maintain an open election atmosphere, he said. An open and free election atmosphere will allow for as much student participation as possible, he said.
According to the new policy, the Judicial Board can fine election code violators $50 in addition to other fines stated in the constitution.
"So the question was since we got rid of the filing fee, which is $50, which is normally used as a punishment. You do not receive your filing fee back if you break the rules of the election," Senate Pro-Tempore Derrick Skaug said. "We got rid of the filing fee so the line that said retain the filing fee was instead replaced by impose a sanction of up to $50."
The Internal Relations Committee also made it clear that any material donated has to be accounted for on the campaign expenditure form, Cockburn said.
“So if someone rents a building for an event that normally costs $500, they have to account for that $500 on their report,” Cockburn said, “so that there’s not any backroom deals or people using their connections to get a venue for an event for free.”
Darren Zemanek/The Daily Evergreen
During meeting discussion some changes were made to the bill. One included the addition of written permission from Residence Life to place billboards in residence halls.
“I assume that when the bylaws were written that the hall director was the person who made all those decisions or just that the senate didn’t have the knowledge,” Pacific said. “The policy is that you can get posters in the residence halls with the permission of the specific hall director or you can get them in every hall with the permission of the Department of Residence Life. So we just added that extra option.”
Pacific said he feels this will make campaigning easier for all students and help get as much student participation as possible in ASWSU.
“Internal Relations did a great job making sure that there’s no ambiguity in the election rules,” Skaug said. “In the past there has been and tickets have found ways to abuse that gray area and that creates controversy after the election. Hopefully this will ensure that controversy doesn’t happen."