By Giacomo Bologna, Daily Staff Reporter
Published March 11, 2013
This Central Student Government election season may prove to be the most contentious in years.
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About 100 people crowded into the CSG chambers in the Michigan Union yesterday to attend the candidates' meeting for the end-of-March elections to explain the rules of election to the potential student leaders. The Defend Affirmative Action Party announced it will be running a presidential ticket, bringing the total number of presidential tickets to five.
“It’s a really huge turnout,” Public Policy junior Caroline Holdren, the CSG election director said. “It looks like everybody’s excited.”
Rules concerning campaign spending are new this year. Following last year’s election when a supporter of the current CSG administration sent a message of support through a large campus e-mail list he didn’t own — nearly costing Business senior Manish Parikh the presidency and delaying the certification of the results by weeks — the entire election code was struck.
Campaign posters have already been posted around campus, and Holdren said campaign materials bought and used before the election, such as domain names and posters, do not to have to be disclosed. However, if posters were posted after the meeting — which stands as the official time when election rules go into effect — they must be disclosed.
With last year’s election in mind, CSG Program Director Anika Awai-Williams asked candidates follow the outlined regulations.
“Please don’t have the president’s office call me that you guys were misbehaving,” Awai-Williams said, evoking laughter from the crowd. “Please just have this one year where this doesn’t happen.”
This is now Awai-Williams’s eighth March election as the CSG program director. She said her first year was the most difficult, when 50,000 campaign e-mails were sent out.
“If it’s not contentious then it’s relatively easier, but this looks like it’s going to be a contentious year again,” she said. “I’m not scared; I think I’m ready.”
She added that a contentious election can positively impact voter turnout, which is historically low.
Law student John Lin, a candidate for law school representative who served on the assembly as an undergraduate student, said he didn’t see as much participation in the candidates’ meeting last year.
“2009 was the first time we had a two-party election in a while; 2010 was pretty active, but nothing like this,” Lin said. “We have, like, what — 100 people in here? We wouldn’t come close to this back when I was in the assembly.”