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ASG changes student body president campaigning rules, elects new senators

<p>Candidates for student body president will now receive campaign help from ASG.</p>

Candidates for student body president will now receive campaign help from ASG.

Students will have fewer ASG elections to worry about this year.

Miami University’s Associated Student Government (ASG) voted to change the student body president election rules at its meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 4.

Previously, students would vote for one president and vice president in a general election the week before spring break. If more than two slates were running, and no one received more than 50 percent of the vote, there would be a runoff election. 

This year, instead of having a runoff election, ASG will utilize ranked-choice voting. Rather than choosing only their preferred candidate, students will rank all candidates. 

If no one slate receives the majority of the votes, the slate with the least amount will be eliminated. The ballots that ranked the eliminated slate first will then count as a vote to whoever is ranked second on those ballots. This will continue until one slate receives the majority of the votes. 

Speaker of Senate Sarah Siegel said in the past, some students have been confused by the two elections, thinking they don’t have to vote in the second one because they already voted. In three of the past four runoff elections, there has been less turnout than in the general election. Last year, 12 percent less students voted in the runoffs. 

Siegel also said the ranked-choice voting will force students to do more research into all of the candidates instead of only choosing a favorite. 

Previously, candidates were not allowed to use ASG resources during their campaigns. This year, ASG will help candidates arrange tabling in Armstrong Student Center (ASC), digital screen advertisements in ASC, space for a physical banner in ASC and headshots. All candidates will have equal access to promotion on the ASG website and social media accounts. 

All of these resources are free to ASG. Helping candidates with marketing levels the playing field for slates who might not have the support of as many student organizations, said Reena Murphy, a member of the ASG elections committee.

The last main change to the student body president election rules is the addition of a warning as a level of campaign violation. 

Last year, there were at least three campaign violations issued, with one instance being overturned by student court

Slates can be issued violations for things like campaigning before the beginning of the campaign period, damaging another campaign’s materials or issuing bribes. Based on the severity of the offense, there are three levels of violations that determine how the campaign will be punished — usually it’s a ban on campaigning for a certain period of time. 

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This year, a warning category has been added for “incidental” offenses that aren’t deemed severe enough for a violation. 

“The better the slates campaign, the more students hear about ASG, and I see that as a positive,” Siegel said. 

ASG also unanimously approved student organization funding proposals and elected seven senators at Tuesday’s meeting. 

Aidan McKeon was selected as a senator-at-large, meaning he represents the entire student body. Colin Camblin, Jermaine Carew and Hunter Wotruba all became off-campus senators. Senate also elected Jake Kravitz and Nathaniel Ike as College of Arts and Science senators and Kerrigan Grabow as a fourth district on-campus senator, representing Emerson, Tappan and Morris Halls. 

ASG will hold more elections on Tuesday, Feb. 18 for a College of Engineering and Computing senator, a 3rd district on-campus senator and five senators-at-large. Petitions to run for these positions are due at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 16 in ASC 2012.