Registration for this year’s Yale College Council officer elections closed Monday night, yielding a record number of contenders for the six officer positions on the council.
This year’s election will see a marked increased in the number of campaign regulations, and some complaints already have been filed with the Election Commission against a number of the presidential candidates, said YCC Vice President Chance Carlisle ’05, the election chair. Candidates can begin collecting endorsements from campus organizations on Wednesday and public campaigning begins on Saturday. Voting will take place on the YaleStation online portal from April 11 to April 13.
There are four candidates in the race for president: R. David Edelman ’07, Alan Kennedy-Shaffer ’06, Samuel Penziner ’07 and Steven Syverud ’06. The vice-presidential contest features three candidates: Ryan Atlas ’07, Marissa Brittenham ’07 and M. Lacey Gattis ’07.
Among the new campaign rules that YCC members approved at a meeting last week are a curtailment of the voting period from four to three days and an expansion of the endorsement period to an entire week. In addition, the council instituted a durability clause, which states that all rules from one campaign cycle remain in effect until the beginning of the next campaign cycle. The rules also clarify many existing definitions of the types of campaigning that are allowed and those that are illegal, and potential punishments for candidates who violate these rules.
Unlike last year, the Election Commission will not have the power to dock votes from candidates who break the rules, Carlisle said. Instead, the commission is empowered to either issue a warning, take away a portion of the candidate’s campaign budget or remove the candidate from the race altogether.
Though public campaigning does not begin until Saturday, violations have already occurred, Carlisle said.
“Some of these guys are just trampling all over the rules,” he said.
Four students were selected to serve on the commission with Carlisle this year — Brittney Hunt ’07, Casey Moriarty ’05, Jose Soegaard ’06 and Josh Yelsey ’05. The commission is scheduled to meet today to discuss the potential violations.
Carlisle said the election commission has already received complaints about possible misuse of thefacebook.com by publicly campaigning on the social networking Web site.
“The new rules say that if you e-mail or message or friend, the burden of proof is on the candidate to prove that a relationship exists,” Carlisle said.
He added that simply having the recipient listed as a “friend” on thefacebook.com is not enough to indicate a friendship between a candidate and the recipient.
These boundaries may continue to be tested, as some of the candidates have said they plan to reach out to as many students as possible as a vital strategy of their campaigns.
Kennedy-Shaffer said he is particularly interested in reaching out to all students from freshmen to seniors.
“One of our slogans is, ‘Every vote counted, every voice heard,'” he said.
Syverud also said he wants to talk to as many people as possible, and make sure voters know who he is and what he stands for. But Syverud said he hopes the candidates will be able to keep the campaign process in perspective.
“The general principle for me is to not treat it like I’m running for Congress,” he said. “I think it’s very important for everyone to keep it in context that this is a student government election.”
Edelman said he plans to capitalize on his status as a relative outsider to the YCC.
“I’m exceptionally qualified to diagnose the problems students encounter everyday because I’ve done more than just been on the YCC,” he said. “I’ve led student groups, I’ve applied for UOFC funding.”
Similarly, Penziner, who is running for president on the Rumpus ticket, said his lack of previous YCC experience could be an asset.
“People assume that a YCC representative will automatically do better than an outsider in office,” Penziner said. “I really beg to differ. That’d be the equivalent of saying any presidential candidate who’s an outsider would be a bad president. I think the YCC needs some fresh blood.”
In addition to the presidential and vice presidential races, the other officer elections also promise to be competitive. The treasurer’s race features six candidates: Emery Choi ’07, Bill Fishel ’08, Mark Godfrey ’08, Allison Pickens ’07, Jayson Tischler ’07 and Larry Wise ’08. Three students will compete for the position of council secretary: Berry Kennedy ’08, Kasdin Miller ’07 and Govind Rangrass ’08.
Five candidates in the race for the chairmanship of the YCC-affiliated Yale Student Activities Committee: Jacqueline Carter ’07, Lina Chen ’08, Ivan Dremov ’07, Lauren Ezell ’07 and Elizabeth Kennard ’07. The race for chair of the Undergraduate Organizations Funding Committee is uncontested this year, with only Jennie Przybylo ’07 in the running.
The presidential candidates will have a chance to discuss the issues of the campaign as a group at a debate forum on Wednesday night sponsored by the Yale Political Union.
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