A.S. Election Rules: A Rundown

Benny Blaydes, a counselor for the Office of Student Life serves on the election committee for the next year’s Associated Students board and lead mandatory orientation for applicants running on Wednesday, March 14 at Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, California. During the election season, candidates will follow the election code or face being removed from the running. (Photo by Ethan Lauren/Corsair Staff)

Benny Blaydes, a counselor for the Office of Student Life serves on the election committee for the next year’s Associated Students board and lead mandatory orientation for applicants running on Wednesday, March 14 at Santa Monica College in Santa Monica, California. During the election season, candidates will follow the election code or face being removed from the running. (Photo by Ethan Lauren/Corsair Staff)

Associated Students (A.S.) candidates began their respective campaigns this past Monday for positions on the A.S. Board of Directors, Santa Monica College’s student leaders that are responsible for club activities, the A.S. budget, and many other items crucial to SMC students.

In order to maintain a level playing field, Associate Dean of Student Life Nancy Grass and A.S. Lead Counselor ,Benny Blaydes, laid out the rules all candidates are required to follow for this year’s elections in three meetings held in the Cayton Center, Room 206 from March 13-15. The meetings went over the 2018 election code that underwent revisions in consideration of last year’s election, in which candidates accused each other of campaigning unethically.

A message both Grass and Blaydes emphasized was keeping the discussions civil and appropriate. “Don’t attack people, attack ideas,” Grass said. The two expressed concern about the false rumors and allegations that some candidates have spread through social media. They both emphasized that unsubstantiated accusations towards candidates must be taken down, and may count as a campaign violation.

Candidates are not allowed to campaign in the library and computer labs, and all campaign workers must be SMC students. Although the candidates and their campaign workers can post in the “unofficial” SMC Facebook page, they were asked not to over post, or else they will be deleted.

Rules limit the scope of the advertisements and campaigning that candidates are allowed to do. Candidates are not allowed to spend more than $250 per person, with an additional $15 granted if they are part of a slate, an official group of two or more candidates that share a similar platform. Of that campaign fund, up to 20% can be used on paper materials, while a cap of 500 papers and cards for advertising was set to reduce the amount of paper waste.

Since the number of Snapchat and Instagram media filters are limited geographically, candidates were not allowed to advertise on these platforms. Some of those running have sought to amend this rule since this article was published, as they believe the number of slates was too low to warrant the concerns about slates dominating advertising on those platforms.

If any of the candidates or their campaign workers make serious violations, they will be discussed by a committee to determine the punishment, which could be severe enough to disqualify those offending.

Election results will be posted on Friday, April 6, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. unless credible accusations of serious violations are made. Candidates who are found to have violated any rules, have 72 hours to appeal.

Those interested in the details of all the official rules for the 2018 A.S. election can find more information in the 2018 Election Code, which was posted on the SMC student life page and is available here: http://www.smc.edu/StudentServices/StudentLife/Documents/AS%20ELECTIONS/Election%20Code%202018.pdf.