Tabling on Library Bridge, giving away Jimmy Johns and hosting campaign events downtown will be replaced with Instagram live events, campaign Zoom calls and professional campaign videos during this unprecedented 2021 CUSG election season.
The Tiger spoke with CUSG Elections Director Samantha Hayes about the implications of the university’s COVID-19 rules and regulations on the election process.
Hayes explained that the Elections Board is adhering to University policies and procedures regarding COVID-19, so the election bylaws have been amended as needed. Most notably, the traditional style of CUSG campaigning through tabling and hosting in-person events will not be possible or permitted this year.
Campaigns will almost entirely engage with students, organizations and clubs via social media and/or through Zoom. While tickets for Student Body President and Student Body Vice President have no limit on social media posts, they are only allowed three online events per week, including “going live” on any social media platform. Candidates and their staffers can only speak or present at up to eight chapter, club or organization meetings per week, and this will primarily occur via Zoom.
As a note of continuity from past elections, there will still be a socially distanced banner drop on Library Bridge and a debate between the final two tickets for President and Vice President, likely through Zoom.
Hayes explained that her philosophy as the Elections Director is to prioritize the mental health, academic responsibilities and general well-being of candidates, staffers and students at large. The Elections Board shortened the campaign season to four weeks, formalized social media campaigning rules and limited active campaigning with those goals in mind.
Hayes is an advocate for depth over breadth in the online campaigning space, and she explained that because tickets can post 24/7 on social media, they do not need to host or attend an excessive number of online events. Hayes urged fellow students to be empathetic and understanding toward one another in this strange election season.
Primary campaign season begins on Wednesday, Feb. 3. Hayes and the Elections Board can be contacted through email if there are any questions or concerns regarding a ticket, campaign rules or voting procedure.