The Class Coordinating Board passed the Student Government Association’s new unified elections code Wednesday night, marking the code’s official approval. The code — already passed by the Undergraduate Council of Students and the Undergraduate Finance Board — will be used for all upcoming SGA elections, including first-year, special, recall and spring general elections.
The newly approved code outlines specific timelines for the first-year general election and spring general election, campaign regulations banning policies that allow for “fiscal, social or personal inequity” that either advantages or disadvantages candidates and consequences for election violations and misconduct, as well as set guidelines on candidate appeals.
“We wanted to write a new elections code that reflected the values of all three branches of student government (and) consolidate (it) so that we have something to go by,” said Joon Nam ’23, SGA elections chair.
“For the last couple of years, it’s mostly been UCS, with the help of CCB and UFB, (who ran) elections,” he added. But “it’s not a consistent system. It's not a system that fairly concerns all three branches of the student government.”
SGA was established in spring 2022. Last year, the association followed the UCS elections code for their spring general elections, because the three governing organizations merged before they established a unified code, according to UFB Chair Amienne Spencer-Blume ’23. For “anything that is election related from now on … the first referral is gonna be” the new SGA elections code, she said.
Spencer-Blume described the previous elections boards’ processes as “a very last-minute subjective choice of (which branch of student government had) time to run elections.”
The new elections code creates a separate SGA elections board that will run all future SGA elections and establishes its “responsibilities and structures,” she added. The board consists of four members: one elections chair who will be elected in each year’s school-wide spring general election and three representatives, one for each branch of SGA, according to Nam. Each branch can decide the process for selecting these members internally, he added.
The elections chair is “not connected to either of the branches and is advised equally by each branch,” even though they are still part of student government, according to Logan Szittai ’24, 2024 class board vice president.
“Now there’s a clear system to ensure that if something goes wrong in the election, (we can) respond adequately,” he said. “There will be no weird workarounds or exceptions.”
An impromptu SGA elections code committee was formed in fall 2022 to draft the document, according to Spencer-Blume, who was the UFB representative in the committee. The committee met weekly starting in November 2022, Spencer-Blume said, adding that members brought in their previous knowledge of elections and consulted existing documents to help the committee write the code.
Spencer-Blume has seen student government “go through a lot of ups and downs and overcome a lot of obstacles, including COVID,” throughout her four years of involvement, which made elections inconsistent for the past three years.
“Having a code that actually will make elections truly free and fair and well organized is just a very exciting prospect,” she said.
Nam said he hopes the code makes “elections the least contentious part of student government, so we can spend our energy and our time talking and fighting for really important issues that we do pursue.”
Kathy Wang is a University News editor who oversees the student government and international student life beats. She is a sophomore from Beijing, China studying Nonfiction Writing and Comparative Literature.