It”s that time of year again. The sidewalks are cluttered with chalking and posters are appearing on every surface that can hold tape campaigning for the Michigan Student Assembly, LSA Student Government and the University of Michigan Engineering Council elections has officially begun.

Paul Wong
LSA sophomore Ben Royal chalks on the Diag yesterday for the Defend Affirmative Action Party. Michigan Student Assembly representative elections are Nov. 14 and 15.<br><br>DEBBIE MIZEL/Daily

The elections will take place Nov. 14 and 15, and voting will be only online, as it was last year, said elections director Elizabeth Anderson.

Students will be able to vote at any computer during the 48-hour election period by accessing the voting website, vote.www.umich.edu.

MSA Election Board member Siafa Hage said the only changes to the election rules concern the mandatory candidates” meeting, which is tonight for this fall”s election.

Last winter, some candidates were disqualified from the election when they did not attend or give notice that they would not attend the meeting. The decision was appealed and eventually overturned, and this year the punishment for not attending the meeting without notice will be one demerit point.

“A candidate needs five demerit points to be expelled from the election,” Hage said. “The reason for that is when someone signs up to be a candidate it is assumed that they know all the rules about the election and will attend the candidates” meeting.”

Candidates have a choice of running independently or as a member of a party. The familiar Blue Party, the Defend Affirmative Action Party and Michigan Party will join the University Democratic Party, which formed last winter, and the newly-formed Yeza party, whose members will be seeking office for the first time.

MSA Rep. Rob Goodspeed, a member of the University Democratic Party, said running with a party “allows voters to know directly where we”re coming from.”

The U-Dems want students to be very involved in the presidential selection committee. They also plan to address campus improvement issues, Goodspeed said.

Yeza was formed from a group of friends who want to make MSA more productive.

“The goal essentially is to have a party on campus that”s more of an everyman”s party stop politicking and represent what people really think,” said Yeza candidate Richard Crow, an LSA senior.

The Blue Party, which currently holds a majority of seats in MSA as well as the presidential and vice presidential positions in Matt Nolan and Jessica Cash, is looking to expand its past accomplishments and build new ones.

“We are looking to increase the number of minors available, improve online resource access for classes, increase the availability of Entre Plus and adopt the recently-proposed fall study break,” said Blue candidate John Carter, a Business junior.

The Defend Affirmative Action Party is the oldest party. It was formed in 1997 in response to the lawsuits challenging the University”s affirmative action policies.

DAAP members have always been clear on their commitment to building what they call a new “civil rights movement” and fighting the lawsuits against the University”s affirmative action admissions policies, but recently they have taken up condemning the bombing in Afghanistan and ending anti-Arab scapegoating in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

“Our three main points are defend affirmative action and integration, stop the war and defend students” rights and stop the scapegoating of arab muslim middle eastern and sikh students,” said DAAP candidate Jessica Curtin, a Rackham student. “Now that the affirmative action cases are on a fast track to the Supreme Court, whoever does get elected in this election is likely to be there when the cases do get to the Supreme Court.”

The Michigan Party, formed two years ago, is seeking to address student concerns only and eliminate the time MSA spends on international issues.

“Our top issues will be to increase the proportion of the MSA budget that is allocated to student groups to more than the 50 percent that it currently is and to make general campus improvements such as improving busing to and from North Campus and improving the CCRB,” said Michigan Party chair Joe Bernstein, a Rackham student.

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