The Daily Gamecock

SG breaks record for most candidates to file for Senate elections

Student Government broke the record for the most candidates to ever file for an election. According to Elections Commissioner Monty Vallabhapuram, there are currently 70 candidates and he’s confident that that number will remain the same through elections.

“It’s the most anyone’s ever heard of. This is absolutely outstanding,” Attorney General Cory Alpert said.

Alpert attributes this success to the current Student Government members. The current administration gained recognition through their very public initiatives like Cockstock, It’s On Us and Lead the Way.

“Primarily, it’s the emergence of Student Government as an entity that actually matters on campus,” Alpert said. “I think under this past administration, Student Government has been a lot more visible and because of that people really care a lot more, people are engaged a lot more, people want to be more involved."

In addition, the elections commission tried new methods of recruiting candidates, including having candidates file outside of the Student Government office instead of inside, like in years past. This brought in many students who walked by and were influenced to file. The commission also held a showcase on Greene Street to bring attention to elections. Vallabhapuram believes the implementation of a marketing strategy is what contributed to the high number of candidates.

“Two phases of marketing: one to market for candidates to file and one to market the actual elections. That was the whole plan of it and it's been working so far,” Vallabhapuram said.

Vallabhapuram recognized the main purpose of the marketing plan was to engage students. So he enlisted the help of Marketing Outreach Chair Sam Shea and Publicity Chair Hanna Powers, whose ideas worked toward that goal by keeping events well-attended and updating Twitter and Instagram daily.

“This year there’s also been a lot more emphasis in encouraging candidates to be more creative in how they campaign, and I think allowing a little bit more of that freedom has been very beneficial,” Alpert said.

Around 95 candidates originally filed, but as is normally expected, people dropped out either because they were ineligible or they chose to withdraw.

“You see that in the senate race a lot. A lot of people run but don’t understand completely what all the positions and what everything entails, duties and responsibilities,” Vallabhapuram said.