In efforts to promote equal opportunity and engagement, the Associated Student Body is working to revise its election procedure to allow more representation within ASB and throughout campus.
The first change applied has been the Election Timeframe Bill, which has already been passed by the senate. With the implementation of the new bill, senate elections will be moved from the fall semester to the spring.
The current election procedure has caused confusion among students in the past, according to Levi Bevis, co-chairman of the Election Task Review Force.
Bevis said students would think they are electing all of the ASB offices at once and were confused as to why there were two sets of elections each year.
“By having both senate and executive officer elections on the same day, elections will be more succinct and students will be able to quickly and efficiently choose all of their student leaders at one time,” Bevis said.
Originally, senate elections have been held the second Tuesday of September and executive officer elections the fourth Tuesday of March. With the passing of this bill, both senate elections and elections for executive officers will be held at the same time instead of in two separate semesters.
Senate elections were placed in the fall semester so freshmen would have the opportunity to run for a senate position within their residence halls. However, ASB Senate reapportioned the seats in 2015, taking away residence hall seats and replacing them with student organization representatives.
This fall, ASB had 10 open seats in senate, which were reserved for students in Registered Student Organizations (RSO).
“For the upcoming senate election in the spring of 2017, hopefully we, in ASB, will be encouraging those in RSOs that were not represented to run for senate and have their voice and the voice of their constituents to be heard,” said Emily Hoffman, chair of the Government Operations Committee.
“One of the major benefits of moving senate elections to the spring is so that freshmen students will have ample time to discover campus and learn what they want to do improve it from senate,” Hoffman said.
The new election period will bring together ASB elected officials and instill efficiency by having all the elected officials begin and finish their terms together, according to ASB President Austin Powell.
The 2016 ASB administration has also created the Elections Review Task Force in order to assess the student body’s input and recommend policy changes to ASB with the goal of creating a better election process.
The Task Force held a forum in early November to discuss the ASB election process, ideas for elections and the current legislation system.
Hoffman said the Review Task Force hopes to learn more about campus attitudes toward the ASB election process in order for it to be more fair for every student. As well as putting an emphasis on reaching the underrepresented student groups and filling every allotted seat in the senate.
“We hope to continue asking questions of students and formulating ideas of things that be implemented next semester,” Hoffman said.