Elections officials enact new policies

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By: Michael Wang and Lexi Muir <mwang@hilite.org, lmuir@hilite.org>

For sophomore Adam Burns, his dreams of becoming Junior Class vice president are finally within reach because the elections for class officer and Senate begin next Tuesday and end on May 9. Burns said, “I really just wanted to get more involved in school. I have good leadership skills. I like getting involved and I like to think that I am a good person. I would love to get people to vote for me and win.”

Despite the excitement from possible candidates, like Burns, who are eager to begin campaigning, according to Assistant Principal Amy Skeens-Benton, who has been in charge of student elections for two years, there have been several new policies implemented this year, which, including the upcoming class officer and Senate election also applied to last week’s Student Body President and Speaker of the House elections. Skeens-Benton mentioned these new policies to the candidates at a mandatory meeting on April 2.

She said candidates running for Student Body President and Speaker of the House could not spend any more than $150 for campaign materials and candidates running for class officer and Senate cannot spend any more than $75. According to her, this budget limit was enforced this year because in past years some candidates have spent lavish amounts of money on campaigning. After the election ends, she said all candidates, including the ones who did not win, will have to turn in a budget form to verify they adhered to the new policy. If a candidate wins but didn’t adhere to this new policy, Skeens-Benton said, “We may have to go with the next candidate.”

In addition to the new budget limit, students could only campaign beginning on April 21 if they were running for Student Body President or Speaker of the House and can start this Tuesday if they plan to run for a class officer or Senate position. Ways to campaign include T-shirts, posters, fliers, Internet, candy and freebies.

Under the new restrictions, according to Skeens-Benton, the Internet would be the best and easiest way to campaign.

Though some candidates have already made support groups on Web sites such as Facebook and MySpace, Skeens-Benton said those new groups need to stay inactive until campaigning officially begins, which was agreed upon by all the candidates at the April 2 mandatory meeting. She said, “(Students) have already set up pages. We had to get people to agree that they didn’t have to put down the site but it had do be inactive for right now. Then they can reactivate it at the time of campaigning. You cannot be sending (any messages) out.”

Despite the new policies this year in regards to elections, Skeens-Benton said the voting process will remain the same.

In order to be eligible to run for class officer and Senate, candidates need to turn in their forms by tomorrow. Skeens-Benton said she will tell candidates who the class officers and Senate members are on May 9, and winners will be announced to the school on May 12.

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