It may be early in election season, but that didn’t stop Associated Student Government candidates from heating up the competition from the start.
Monday was the first official day of campaigning for ASG elections, which will take place on April 14. On Friday, the ASG Election Commission confirmed that SESP sophomore Alessio Manti and Weinberg sophomore Adam Thompson-Harvey will be running against SESP junior Claire Lew and Weinberg sophomore Hiro Kawashima for the president and vice president ballot.
But before these candidates had even been formally announced, they were playing the campaign field and keeping an eye on their projected opponents. Campaigns officially started just 24 hours ago, and there have already been several complaints filed, none of which have been upheld to become full-blown violations.
The first complaint was filed last Wednesday, March 31 against Manti and Thompson-Harvey; the next, against Lew and Kawashima, came in on Thursday. There was also a complaint filed Sunday against Student Life Vice Presidential candidate Jonathan Friedman.
The team of Manti and Thompson-Harvey, both sophomores, had emailed student leaders on campus to organize a campaign kickoff party last week, which they called off because of a complaint filed from another candidate. The event was organized outside of ASG and before the pair had even confirmed their candidacy, and with a complaint pending in opposition, it had to be postponed.
The following day, a complaint against Lew and Kawashima was filed, and another came in Sunday regarding Friedman’s campaign, both for “campaigning before the start of the official campaign period,” according to Jeff Cao, ASG election commissioner. Both complaints came, as the first, after the candidates sent out emails that contained alleged campaigning via listserv or to select individuals.
The Election Commission, composed of seven ASG senators, met Monday night to discuss these complaints and determine whether they would result in election violations for the candidates. They decided that all of the complaints would be dismissed, leaving the candidates violation-free.
Anyone can submit a complaint against any candidate from ASG’s Web site. Cao commented that complaints and violations are usually issued later in the campaign period, and that the commission used a new procedure in dealing with complaints this time around.
“Unlike in years past, we’re (the commission) meeting with the subjects of the complaints individually to get a more complete picture of the situation,” Cao said.
The commission wanted to reach as fair a verdict as possible, since a candidate is allowed only three campaign violations before being kicked off the ballot, or, if elected, subject to impeachment.
This policy came to light—and controversy—during last year’s election, when articles of impeachment were filed against then Academic Director-elect Muhammad Safdari. The ASG Rules Committee decided that his offenses were not impeachable and Safdari assumed his office, but it was one of the more controversial acts in recent election history.
This year’s campaigning will culminate with candidate debates, which will be held in Norris on Monday and Tuesday, April 12 and 13, with the election taking place on all day April 14 via NU Link.