ASNMU prepares for election cycle

Jenean Zahran

With the elections for ASNMU quickly approaching, candidates have two weeks to prepare and students have two weeks to educate themselves before voting opens on Monday, April 1.

To begin preparing for the election cycle, ASNMU has been working to establish rules for the election, which is an important aspect within the election process.

ASNMU has also been looking for members to approve to it’s judiciary board. For months, the general assembly has had trouble agreeing on the approval of members for the ASNMU judiciary board.

Leah Blanchard is the first member to be approved to serve on the ASNMUJ.

“My main goal is to gain practical experience using the analytical skills I have learned as a philosophy student,” said Blanchard, a junior philosophy major. “I also hope to fulfill the obligations of this position successfully and fairly.”

Blanchard’s job will be to remain unbiased and to review a case or candidate’s conduct if someone should move to appeal a decision made by the Elections Committee. Not having been personally invested with ASNMU prior to applying allows Blanchard to be as objective as possible, which is essential to be a successful member on the judiciary board.

“As president of Philosophy Club, I have been able to learn important leadership skills that help mediate successful discussions, which will be very useful in this setting,” Blanchard said.

Earlier in the year, the board had discussed whether or not to require the presidential and vice presidential candidates to run together as a ticket but decided against it.

In this year’s election, two out of the three candidates running for ASNMU president have a running mate

“We decided not to (run candidates as a ticket) because it could end up disqualifying great leaders,” said Chelsea Parrish, Elections Committee chairperson. “We have two pairs of candidates who are campaigning as tickets; however they will not be listed any differently on the ballot.”

Parrish said voting will be taking place online rather than at polling stations. The voting website will be linked on the main page of ASNMU.

“The turnout at the polls wasn’t high enough in recent years to justify spending the money to have polling stations,” Parrish said. “Students now aren’t limited in the times that they can vote when it is done online, whereas if they went to a polling station they may not be able to fit the time to vote into their schedules.”

With the elections in less than three weeks, candidates are also working on their own campaigns, which includes getting their name known within the student body.

Amber Lopota, current vice president of ASNMU, is running to become president.

Lopota has been working extensively on her campaign, and also using outlets such as social media and advanced marketing to get her name out throughout campus, but also to off campus students.

And unlike the other two candidates running, Lopota chose to campaign without a running mate.

“Making the decision to run independently was not an easy one,” Lopota said. “However I felt that it was what would offer the student body the most freedom of choice for every candidate. I don’t think I should try to force anyone’s hand by making it a ‘vote for us’ situation.”

Lopota said in order to be an effective leader within ASNMU and in other positions, you must demonstrate strong communication skills, public relations capabilities and genuinely care for the people you will be representing.

“The president does not simply delegate tasks but acts as a demonstration and living example of what can be achieved,” Lopota said. “It is an honor and it should be treated as a privilege that the student body puts such faith in you to make positive change on their behalf.”

Candidates must also run their campaign according to the election’s rules and regulations stated in the election packet they receive after they apply to run.

Any three separate violations resulting in guilty formal complaints against a candidate will result in that candidate’s removal from the election process.

In order to be eligible to run for office, students must currently be registered for a minimum of six credit hours, carry a 2.0 cumulative GPA and be free of disciplinary probation, according to Parrish.

Due to students’ requests, ASNMU has extended their deadline for applications to enter the election until Friday, March 22.

Parrish also said there will also be two additional informational meetings held with Parrish on Thursday from 8 to 9:30 a.m. in the Peter White Lounge and on Friday from 9 to 11 a.m. in the ASNMU office.