It is easy to tell when the student government campaign season has begun – intricate chalkings sprawl across campus concrete after a dry night and colored posters decorate the University walls. Michigan Student Assembly, LSA Student Government and University of Michigan Engineering Council elections are a week away.
On Nov. 20 and 21 students can vote online at anytime during the 48 hour voting period by accessing the voting website, vote.www.umich.edu.
“Campaigning started a little late this year because most parties waited until after the national elections to start flyering but we expect a good voter turn out,” Collin McGlashen, MSA election director said.
Changes have been applied to this year’s election code to eliminate the time consuming hearing process. The new code gives the election board the ability to throw out a case if it does not believe there is enough substance to the complaint to merit punishment, McGlashen said.
Members of the Defend Affirmative Action Party, Blue Party, Students First and an independent candidate are running for representative seats in this fall’s election.
Rackham student Benjamin Lynch said he is running for DAAP because he has the same views as the party on affirmative action and the anti-war movement.
“DAAP is the only party with any real stance on anything,” Lynch said.
Students First holds the current MSA President and Vice President positions. Brian Doughty is running under the Student First ticket because he said he wants to actively improve campus life for all students.
“I feel Students First strives to represent every student so they feel that they are represented on MSA,” Doughty said.
Blue Party, one of the oldest parties, has been on campus since the winter election in 1999 with 13 candidates running for MSA positions this year.
“We’re the only party that puts students issues first before anything else,” party leader Darth Newman said.
Candidate Paul Scott is running independent because he wants to put more focus on the classroom, campaign manager Mike MacVay said.
“We are strapped for manpower, but we are working diligently to get Paul elected,” MacVay said.
For the next week candidates will continue to hang up posters, chalk and go door-to-door in residence halls. Candidates face the challenge of educating students about the issues involved with this year’s election and the differences between the parties, as many students feel posters do not give enough information about the party platforms.
With 23 open seats in MSA, next week’s newly elected students will begin attending the MSA meetings immediately after.
Campaigning this fall has not been marred by code violations as in the past years, like when students illegally put up flyers in University buildings.
“We’ve had no problems so far,” McGlashen said. “There have been no complaints filed, which is good news.”