Election bylaws need a makeover

The Hudsonian Editorial Board

“All members of the same party must use identical colored paper for their flyers” is actually a Student Senate bylaw.
This is one of several unreasonable campaign bylaws listed that should arguably be dependent on personal choice rather than placed on a legal document. Some of these rules not only set irrational restrictions for candidates, but also limit competition, freedom and overall fairness.
Reform the use of campaign handouts the right way
Recently, the Student Senate brought up the possibility of amending the election bylaws to address the distribution of campaign handouts. While it’s critical to finally address what freebies should be prohibited to encourage fair election cycles, it’s equally important to make sure the power to regulate campaign materials rests within the hands of the Student Senate.
Suggestions to eliminate all campaign handouts could have damaging impacts on future competition. Pushing the same power to approve items to the Student Activities office as flyers should also be avoided. Students should always have the utmost power over what is deemed acceptable within the election process in coordination with college rules.
Candidates should be able to use reasonable resources in their campaigns under specific ethical guidelines put into the bylaws. Different campaign materials should be held to different standards. For example, handing out pens should not be under the same regulations as giving away refreshments.
Allow candidates to be more competitive and let go of outdated rules
Under the bylaws, students can’t campaign through guest contributions in The Hudsonian unless an “equal opportunity is given for all candidates.” If a candidate is taking advantage of The Hudsonian’s outreach to spread their message, there’s no reason for it to be frowned upon. It’s basic sense to use the best resources to get campaign messages spread.
The same bylaw exists for WHVC radio. This is an organization that has not existed since 2010. Perhaps, it’s time that WHVC radio leaves the bylaws.
Mentioning WHVC radio isn’t the only outdated piece of the document. The possibility of using voting booths is mentioned three times in the bylaws despite the fact that voting booths have not existed on campus in nearly a decade.
Address online voting rules more clearly
In the current race, candidates were told that they cannot be within 25 feet of a computer during the election, piggybacking on old voting booth rules.
With the rise of mobile technology, electronic voting goes beyond traditional computer areas. This has created an ever-growing dilemma for the future of Student Senate election conduct.
It would be impractical for candidates to distance themselves from students carrying a Smartphone or iPhone while using online voting on their mobile phone. At this point, with technology ever-expanding, it’s unacceptable to allow this bylaw to be left unchanged for another year.
Stop trustee candidates from running for officer positions
If holding two positions as a Senate leader and Faculty Student Association Student-at-Large is prohibited under the bylaws, the same rationale should apply to student trustees. And yet it currently does not.
In recent years, every student trustee has been a voting officer in the Student Senate. This year, the streak could continue with three out of seven candidates looking to fill executive board and trustee seats.
Two electable positions should not be filled by the same person, especially when there’s a clear conflict of interest between the needs of the college administration and the student body.

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