Two down, one to go.
Starting on April 15, the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico will conduct their third and final election of the 2018-2019 school year. This time around, 15 undergraduates are looking to fill no less than 10 open seats on the ASUNM Senate.
Every semester at least 10 Senate seats are automatically up for election. Some senators elected in the fall term may decide to resign, opening up more seats.
“If you want to win, you got to campaign,” said Executive Director of Elections Commissions Jordan Montoya to the 15 students at the candidates' meeting on Tuesday.
The candidates are Abby Lutz, Abigale Aldrich, Adam Lopez, Briana Flores, Dequez Irving, Emma Hotz, Erik Neal, Gabriel Ruja, Giovanni Chioda, Matthew Zank, Michel Rivera, Mohammad Jaber, Nolan McKim, Taysear Ali and Victor Ryan Regalado.
Flores is a student in the Anderson School of Management, while the other 14 candidates are a part of College of Arts and Sciences.
This semester, legislation to make ASUNM more representative of UNM undergraduates — potentially adding protected seats based on how many students are enrolled in various colleges — was failed in committee. Steering & Rules senators said the package was not sufficiently fleshed out enough to be passed. Many senators also expressed support for the idea of the legislation, as previously reported by the Daily Lobo.
Student organizations can endorse candidates at the Endorsement Forum on April 8. The election results will be announced at 6 p.m. on the last day of voting in the Student Union Building Atrium.
The “Don’ts” of Campaigning
“It’s better to ask for permission, than beg for forgiveness,” Montoya told senators during the candidate meeting on Tuesday. Breaking the ASUNM elections code can be a costly affair.
In addition to ASUNM fines, candidates who break campus policy could be subjected to a Student Code of Conduct review and punishment from the Dean of Student's Office.
According to an Election Commission’s survey from the 2019 ASUNM presidential election, over 500 of the nearly 1300 students who responded to the survey said they had heard about the election “from a candidate who was campaigning.” Those candidates and the people they enlist to campaign for them are bound to certain rules about how, and where, they can campaign.
One common practice for candidates is chalking or using chalk to inscribe a message. According to the Student Activities Center, “chalking with non-permanent sidewalk chalk is permitted only on sidewalks which are exposed to weather and foot traffic where chalk will wear off in a short time.”
SAC also bans chalking within 15 feet of a UNM building’s entrance. ASUNM election’s code goes a step further: “no person will campaign or post materials within 25 feet of the doors to a building containing a polling station or public computer access during the voting period.”
As for flyers and signs, SAC and University policy say “post(s) on light poles, bollards, buildings, trash cans, campus art installations, vehicles in parking lots, trees or other similar structure(s),” are banned. Also, “items are not allowed to be staked into the ground, and posting with glue or adhesives is prohibited.”
Candidates for President, Vice president and Senate are permitted by ASUNM laws to spend no more than $250 campaigning. If a candidate were to spend more, ASUNM imposes fines, depending on how much more was spent. If collected, that money is sent to the ASUNM general fund. The Lawbook also says “(fines) should not be treated or used as a source of self-generated funds for an executive agency.”
Any student who thinks a violation has been committed has ten days from the time of the infraction to report it to Elections Commissions and Student Court, according to the Lawbook.
The election ends at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 17.
Justin Garcia is a staff reporter with the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers student government. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Just516garc.