Those campaigning for office in the Dixie State University Student Association elections this year won’t be able to confront students on campus asking them to vote a certain way anymore.
New policies were added to the official student election regulations to make voting more fair and non-confrontational, said Student Body President Sarah Ramaker, a senior dance major from Midland, Michigan. According to the one of the new policies, campaigners may not use the candidates’ name when asking a student to vote; they may instead ask generic questions like “Have you voted today?”
If campaigners hand a student an electronic device to vote on, the campaigners also may not be in view of the screen when the student votes, according to the new policy.
These new policies will be important in allowing students to vote “their conscience” without being pressured to vote a certain way, said James Kener, a senior English major from Murray. Kener will be serving as the election committee chair after Weston Zimmerman, DSUSA’s chief justice, recused himself because of his plans to run for office in the elections.
“Last year, I know there were a lot of students who felt pressured to vote a certain way,” Kener said. “Elections were just whoever could get to the most students with an iPad faster. This year, hopefully more people will feel comfortable to vote the way they want.”
Ramaker said DSUSA will be advertising the voting period more and will urge the candidates to speak with more students about their platforms.
“We want the student body to really feel like they were educated in all the choices before voting,” Ramaker said. “It’s important to get the right person in this job.”
Kener said he will encourage candidates to not force students to vote if they aren’t educated on the candidates’ platforms. If a student asks a campaigner who he or she should vote for, Kener said the campaigners should tell the student to come back later to vote after he or she feels more educated on the candidates.
“We want to elect who the students really want after they’re educated,” Kener said.
If the candidates or their campaigners break the new policies, Kener said he and the election committee will review the case, “judge intent” and decide on a punishment.
Kendall Pitts, a junior communication major from Las Vegas, is running for student body president this year and said she was already planning on setting up her campaign team with these new policies in mind.
“To me, it is so important that the candidate nor there (sic) team can’t be in the persons (sic) face or near their device when voting, because it takes the pressure off of the person that is voting,” Pitts said in an email. “Rather, it should be an opportunity for them to express themselves about these influential students running in office.”