Task force hosts second election reform forum

Posted on Nov 14 2018 - 5:50am by Taylor Vance

The Election Reform Task force will host its second forum Wednesday night in Lamar 131 to discuss potential changes to campus elections.

The task force, led by former ASB Attorney General Katherine Sistrunk and ASB Co-Director of Inclusion and Cross-Cultural Engagement Leah Davis, hosted their first forum in October.

In a written statement to The Daily Mississippian, Davis and Sistrunk said at the last forum they realized that many students were “excited and ready to make campus elections more fair and equitable.”

“With this next forum, we hope to see more engaged and interested students bringing forth additional ideas for election reform,” Davis and Sistrunk said. “We expect increased attendance at this next forum as many students have expressed interest in attending.”

Leah Davis and Katherine Sistrunk, co-directors of the Associated Student Body Election Reform Task Force, moderate the first meeting of a newly-created task force to reform the way student elections are conducted on campus last month. File photo by Devna Bose

The forums come after The Daily Mississippian reported that candidates running for personality elections and ASB elections are not required to disclose who donates to their campaign and that most candidates being backed by their Greek organizations.

In August, Sistrunk resigned as ASB Attorney General because she realized that Greek-affiliated candidates had an advantage over those who were not members of a Greek organization, and she realized she benefited from that system.

“This decision was made on my own accord because I am passionate about the students at our University,” Sistrunk said. “That being said, it is not the intention (of the task force) to punish others that have benefited similarly, but it is my hope that we can self-reflect and move forward.”

At the last forum, Davis introduced the idea of changing personality elections to an interview and application-based process, which she said is similar to how other schools in the SEC conduct their personality elections.

“We’re looking at different models like the Who’s Who Committee,” Davis said. “That’s laid out in the (ASB) Code, and that’s a pretty diverse and widespread campus group. I definitely think there should be students on the committee.”

ASB President Elam Miller said at the first forum that all of the ideas students suggested there would need to be formally introduced and passed in the ASB Senate.

“It’s obvious that campus elections needs some drastic changes,” Miller said. “This is a great first step in this long process. But, again, it’s a long process.”

Davis and Sistrunk said their next step after the forum is to “begin working with Senators in writing election reform legislation.”