Although the Yale College Council election campaign this week has been colored by personal allegations and attacks on the four presidential candidates, all of the candidates said they felt positive about the first day of voting.
Before noon on Thursday, many students received a PaperlessPost e-mail inviting them to “Vote Leah for YCC.” The invitation included links to Leah Motzkin’s ‘16 campaign website and the voting platform, as well as the reply e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Of the 26 students surveyed by the News, 21 said they had received the e-mail.
The email violated YCC’s election guidelines, which state that during the voting period “mass emails (emails sent to more than 20 recipients at a time) are strictly prohibited.”
However, Motzkin said neither she nor her campaign team had sent the PaperlessPost invite, as they are all aware that actions like the e-mail violates election rules. Motzkin said she did not receive the invite in her personal inbox. Motzkin also said the invitation reply e-mail is not associated with her campaign and that the invitation was likely sent by one of her supporters.
“I actually had no clue it was happening,” Motzkin said. “I’m assuming that it was in support of me, [that] someone was trying to help me, but I’m not sure who it was.”
She added the mass invitation was not a method she would have used to campaign, as it does not accurately present her.
Members of the Council Elections Commission (CEC) — appointed before each election to enforce regulations — declined to comment about any investigation about the email, though both CEC Chair Kyle Tramonte ‘15 and CEC member Jeremy Hutton ’15 verified that an email like the paperless post sent out Thursday morning would violate YCC’s election guidelines. Tramonte said that the CEC only takes action when someone files a complaint, and he declined to comment about whether there was a formal complaint about the PaperlessPost.
Sara Miller ’16 spent the day talking to students in dining halls and on the street, and canvassed throughout Old Campus this evening. She said her face-to-face interactions have all been positive.
“It’s been fantastic, a lot of people I don’t know have been coming up to me and hugging me,” Miller said.
Tomorrow, Miller plans on setting up a table on Cross Campus to meet students and talk to them about her campaign.
Though a physics exam was an “unfortunate distraction,” Michael Herbert ’16 said the election has been going well. Herbert and his team stationed supporters in dining halls to answer questions, personally reached out to students, promoted a video with highlights from Sunday’s YCC debate and have kept the campaign’s Twitter feed active.
“We’re getting good feedback, it’s been fun talking to people, we’re feeling good and we’re enjoying it,” Herbert said. “We’re going to finish strong, we’re not getting complacent.”
Going into the last day of voting, Herbert said he feels that for the most part the team has finished disseminating his message and candidacy. He added that he remains hopeful that voters will “make a good decision” and support him.
At the end of the day, Ben Ackerman ‘16 said he feels a “cautious optimism” about the election. Overall, he said he has witnessed positive energy coming from students, including the three other presidential candidates.
“I’ve been getting lots of facebook messages and emails and people in the dining halls have been giving me the big thumbs up,” he said. “It’s been a lot of positive energy overall.”
He added that he communicated with the three other candidates during the day by phone or text to check-in and see that everyone was in “positive spirits.”
Ackerman spent the evening knocking on doors in Old Campus to encourage freshmen to vote. He said he has knocked on nearly every door in Old Campus to give a 30-second spiel about his platform.
Polls close on Friday at 9 pm.