The Daily Gamecock

In Our Opinion: SG aims to rehaul election season legislation

Student Government had another busy Wednesday night. The focus: elections.

For starters, they aim to restructure the existent election codes with a new clean slate bill. The bill would serve as a starting point for amendments that will rewrite the codes for the rules and regulations of its election season with clarity in mind. The current codes are a self-referential nightmare and are in dire need of polishing. They can be interpreted in far too many ways and their readability borders on obsolescence. This is no secret and their improvement is far past due. Thankfully, that’s in the works.

The first amendment, proposed and unanimously passed Wednesday, will allow executive leadership candidates to simultaneously file for a position in student senate. Should they win both, they’ll get the executive seat and the candidate with the next highest number of votes will be awarded a position in student senate.

At first glance, this will allow candidates to hedge their bid on an executive position with a fall-back option; nullifying all of the previous risks associated with the decision. In this regard, why wouldn’t someone automatically run for both positions at once? While there may be a flood of candidates, the potential drawbacks are well worth the benefits.

Historically, senate’s brightest and most active have run for an executive position. A losing campaign meant those former stars of senate would be scuttled from the body altogether. This amendment will presumably allow senate to retain their best should they lose their campaign for an executive position. It may also convince more qualified candidates to run for executive positions in Student Government, which doesn’t hurt.

The other amendments focus on the campaign itself. It will gate the election season into two distinct periods. The first period will allow all methods of campaigning except for rallies, events and distribution of campaign items and paraphernalia. Following that, candidates will be allowed relatively unfettered campaigning in the week leading to the election.

This change seeks to level the playing field for all candidates while simultaneously shifting the paradigm from sheer quantity to quality of campaign platforms and strategy, but we’d like to suggest a second way this could be accomplished: a fiscal cap.

The University of South Carolina is the only SEC school without a spending limit for student campaigns. Naturally, an adoption of similar protocol will only help further balance the student political spectrum.

The name of the game seems to be ease of access. While Student Government is rarely short on good ideas, they are in active pursuit of filling out its ranks with proactive and independent critical thinkers. As it stands, the senate is dominated by a verbose and knowledgeable few, while most simply follow the status quo. That’s no knock on senate itself, but hopefully its proposed changes will help them attract more interest and consequently ditch the rubber stamp mentality that’s a little too prevalent every Wednesday night.


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