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SGA puts cap on election spending

The Student Government Association passed an election reform bill to determine how the Election Steering Committee will monitor political teams’ campaign spending during university elections, and the bill will be in effect for the 2014 races next semester.

According to the election reform amendment, political teams can now spend a maximum of $400, including donations, on their campaigns. All receipts will be turned into the ESC by the candidates.

During the Oct. 1 SGA meeting, President Erik Muckey said SGA was setting a precedent for more efficient and fair elections in the future by having guidelines on spending, where campaigning can take place and other practices.

“The big thing to take from this is a lot of it is surrounding the executive election,” Muckey said. “It gives specific duties for everyone and is a way for us to educate the teams. By putting in spending limits, you are actually opening up the field for more potential candidates and expanding election diversity.”

Senior SGA senator Zach Nipp said the amendment is gearing the elections more toward student voters around campus.

“This makes the campaign more important and should get more of the school involved than before. Because before it was ‘I’ll like them on Facebook,’ now it’s a business with things that tell what you can do and what you can’t do,” Nipp said.

Junior senator Michelle Corio, who worked alongside Senator Lexy Schumann to write the amendment, told the SGA the bill makes the ESC a more purposeful group because they will have official guidelines to follow.

Corio and Schumann each acknowledged they allowed room inside the bill for growth in the future, and the point of the bill was to encourage all students to run while enhancing strategic campaigning, not just basing campaigns on money.

After working with elections over the past four years he has been apart of SGA, Nipp said the bill addresses concerns from every election over the past three years. He said passing the bill was a strong move by the SGA to help campus elections run more smoothly.

“This will help elections a lot. I’m glad they put it in the guidelines for the senator elections, but it is more important for the executive elections,” he said. “It will put things into perspective for everyone, and it gives validation for what the ESC does. There will be more validation for what happened as opposed to arguing over opinion.”

The SGA has maintained regulations on spending before, according to Muckey, but nothing to the extent the new amendment will push for. The new hard spending limit is something he said is right for the university moving forward.

“Our hope is with these guidelines, we will give everyone the same resources, so it is truly the case of ‘May the best candidate win,’ ” he said.