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ASG tweaks election rules

Victoria Slater and Allison McGillivray, Senior Staff Writer and Campus Editor

Vice President of the Student Body senior Lizzie Litzow presented two conflicting bills to Senate that proposed changes to the way the President and Vice President of the student body are elected, at the Associated Student Government (ASG) meeting Tuesday Feb. 5.

Currently, two elections are held for the two positions: a primary, followed by a general election.

If any of the president and vice presidential platforms receive more than 50 percent of the vote in their primary election, they are automatically elected to their positions.

Litzow determined that in the past, the platform that possessed a 10 percent or greater lead over its opponents during the primary election tended to retain the lead after the general election.

The first bill, which was proposed by the Senate Election Committee, was the Election Bylaw Amendment. It states that a second election is unnecessary if the president and vice president are to obtain at least a 10 percent lead over their opponents during the primary election.

The second bill, the 2013 Student Body Election Rules, which was proposed by the Executive Cabinet, holds that "if a candidate receiving the largest number of votes in the primary election receives more than 50 percent of the vote, a general election will not be held."

During the debate over the two bills, various senators argued that a plurality vote is necessary for the president and vice president, which is a method the United States government and student governments at acclaimed colleges have adopted. A plurality vote occurs when a candidate takes more votes than any other candidates without attaining a majority.

Senior senator Calvin Davis argued that ASG should not compare Miami to other colleges and instead focus on establishing the most efficient voting process for the student body.

"We are forever Miami," he said. "We should not compare our processes to other colleges. We need to focus on what is easier and more efficient for the students."

Senate passed the first bill, the Election Bylaw Amendment, with a vote of 18-10-2 after a series of amendments were made during debate. Only 30 senators were present for the passing of the bill.

The election protocol is now that if three or fewer candidates are vying for the president or vice president positions, winners will take all, no matter what vote percentage they have other their opponents.

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If four or more candidates are running, a platform, or presidential and vice presidential candidates, must obtain a 15 percent lead over its opponents in order to forgo a second election.

President of Student Senate, senior Peter Dougherty said the new rules ensure the platform wins that should win, while also allowing the candidates to spend less of their time and financial resources campaigning.

The new election protocol was passed with the minimum majority needed for a bylaw change.

This bill will be instated during the upcoming student body presidential elections occurring on March 29.

President of the Student Body, senior John Stefanski said he does not believe the new election rules will make any major difference in the upcoming election.

"I don't really know how much of a difference it is going to make," Stefanski said.

Dougherty said he was impressed by how Senate was able to compromise to create the new election procedure.

"I think it's a fantastic thing that senate has really come together and worked together to create a new version of the rules," Dougherty said.

ASG also held elections to fill the vacant treasurer spot, due to the resignation of former treasurer senior Alex Busam.

First year Nathan Holaday and sophomore Kyle Hees vied for the position. Ultimately, ASG voted Hees into the position based on his extra year of experience with ASG, as well as various leadership positions with his fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi, Mock Trial and the student senate funding committee.

As treasurer, Hees said he hopes to enhance the credibility of ASG, especially pertaining to its ability to allocate money to campus organizations and activities.

"The money we give out during funding meetings directly reflects us and what we are doing," Hees said. "I want to make sure that the money that the student body is giving goes appropriately and is spent appropriately."

Following the election, Vice President for Student Organizations senior Michael Trivelli presented the student organizations' budget for this semester. ASG plans to fund 163 organizations with $333,000 after a 16 percent projected cutback is applied.

Subsequent to Trivelli's presentation, senate unanimously passed amendments to the Senate Attendance Standing Rules that were presented at last week's meeting.

The amended resolution states that senators that leave before an hour and half elapses during a senate session will receive the same punishment if they were to be absent from senate without appointing an alternate. Those senators will receive two points each time they leave senate early; if they accumulate eight points they will be censured.