With student government elections underway, candidates for the Undergraduate Assembly and Class Boards are now ramping up their campaigns. The Nominations and Elections Committee has made a number of changes to election procedures this year, which will change the way candidates campaign for votes.
This is the first election cycle affected by a Fair Practices Code amendment passed by the NEC in February which bans candidates from approaching potential voters with laptops or other devices used for voting. The amendment classifies this practice as coercion, which is banned by the FPC.
In March, NEC Chair and College senior Stephen Imburgia told The Daily Pennsylvanian that without this policy, extroverted candidates benefitted in previous elections, as they were more likely to randomly approach student voters.
“I think eliminating laptops or other personal devices entirely from these interactions between candidates and voters will prevent a lot of these coercive practices that we were trying to prevent with the original amendment,” NEC Vice Chair for Elections and College sophomore Kiley Marron said in March.
The NEC is also taking new measures to increase voter turnout through partnerships with local businesses and an expanded voting booth initiative.
Marron said the NEC has traditionally held voting booths at the Upper Quad Gate, but will be expanding this to include tables at the Starbucks at 1920 Commons, Houston Hall, Huntsman Forum, the Engineering Cafe, and College Green this year.
The voting booths will be manned by NEC members who will “present laptops and devices to students who want to vote in a fair, unbiased way," Marron said.
Students who vote will also be eligible to receive deals at local businesses such as Kiwi, HipCityVeg, and Ben & Jerry's throughout the voting period upon showing their submitted ballot on an electronic device.
The voting period opened at midnight on Monday, April 1, and will close at 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 4. The results are set to be announced on Thursday at 9 p.m.