With 55 freshmen and five graduate students vying for seats in upcoming elections, new sabotage rules were put in place Sunday to avoid any tension.
The Electoral Commission convened at a meeting to encourage candidates, distribute necessary forms to be completed and clarify any discrepancies over the policies and procedures.
Electoral Commissioner Corean Shelton discussed the importance of obtaining written permission to use copyrighted material on any campaign fliers, posters and press releases.
The policy’s importance was stressed to encourage a clean campaign and to prevent the possibility of the candidates and Florida A&M University from getting sued for copyright infringement.
Shelton also outlined the new sabotage and defamation policy that attempts to ensure ethical behavior and provides greater focus on the policies of the candidate.
In previous years, candidates had a verbal understanding to avoid use of defamation or sabotage to gain votes. Shelton felt the policy was essential because many of the previous candidates complained that their opponents sabotaged their campaign.
Shelton said “infringement of the policy is through the jurisdiction of the Electoral Commission.”
When asked after the meeting, Markeshia Gorden, a member of the Electoral Commission, describes conduct, such as “ripping, tearing or breaking opponents’ campaign materials, lying about opponents, saying ‘do not vote for’ a person or causing the disqualification of a candidate by bringing campaign material into illegal areas,” are ways to violate the policy and cause a candidate to be assessed points. If a candidate is assessed 50 points, he or she is disqualified from the election.
Gorden and the other members of the Electoral Commission also said that the infringement of the sabotage and defamation policy was not limited to those actions. However, there must be distinct proof behind the allegations of sabotage and defamation to cause points to be assessed.
The policy is not contained within the Electoral Codes, but the Electoral Commission is allowed to establish policies and procedures with consent of the Judicial Branch. The swift action to instill this idea as a necessary component of the election, illustrates the student government body’s desire to create a fair election, the Electoral Commission said.
Freshmen elections provide a voice for new students and a forum for the next group of leaders to air their opinions and outline their goals for the campus.
With the passing of the Declaration of Candidacy deadline on Sept. twelfth, the Electoral Commission required candidates to attend the mandatory candidate meeting on Sunday.
On Sept. twenty-third, nine students will run for each Freshman President and Vice President, 28 students for eight Freshman Senate seats, eight students for Freshman Attendant, two students for Graduate Senate, and three students for Graduate Attendant.
Shelton said the Electoral Commission plans to have a smooth election and hopes that the new policy will deter candidates from involving themselves in actions of sabotage and defamation.