The Daily Gamecock

Elections Commission confident despite low candidate filing numbers

While 54 candidates are competing for the 50 student senate seats, more than a third of the seats don't have a candidate. Candidates are separated by college, and 35 of the filed students are competing for 20 available seats in the College of Arts and Sciences and Darla Moore School of Business. Six colleges have no one running at all.

"I definitely feel confident in the amount of promotion that we had for filing," Elections Commissioner Erin Brown said. "It's just natural that some of the more populated colleges are more heavily integrated with what's going on in Student Government."

Last year's election saw record senate candidacy numbers, with 88 total candidates and just six seats without a candidate running. The numbers this year are more more in line with those seen 2013-2016.

Second-year student Azalfa Lateef is one of the nine senators who filed for re-election. She's currently the vice chairman of the academic committee and hopes to be senate pro tempore next year.

"I want them to have a strong leader coming in," Lateef said. She'll be able to help new senators with the bill writing and filing process because of her previous year in the senate.

While filing numbers are down, that shouldn't cause any permanent problems for the new senate. Students can still file as write-in candidates for the open seats, and any seats left vacant after elections will be filled through an internal process within the senate. Some of the candidates currently running for the Arts and Sciences and DMSB seats who initially lost could end up serving as "at large" senators. It's typical for the senate to have seats become empty throughout the year due to resignations, and there's never any problem filling those seats, according to Brown. 

As to why there are fewer candidates, Lateef said that more students are hoping for executive positions instead of running for senate. She said that several members of Freshman Council told her they were holding out for those positions. Another senator confirmed that he was leaving senate to help out on an executive campaign with the goal of ending up on cabinet.