With elections on the way, the USG is altering its campaign rules in an attempt to force political hounds to learn a few new tricks.
The USG decided to limit candidates to one flier per bulletin board for the upcoming spring elections of class officers and U-Counselors. Candidates will still be allowed to use larger-sized posters but will not be able to post them on bulletin boards. The elections are scheduled to begin on April 1 at 11:59 p.m.
The Elections Committee chair and USG vice president Spencer Merriweather '00, said the USG changed its policy to ensure that all candidates can "campaign on an equal playing field."
"There's no reason that every candidate shouldn't have an opportunity to advertise," Merriweather said.
"In the past, we've had people – myself included – plaster signs and cover entire bulletin boards. By limiting campaign advertising, we hope to encourage people to use creative ways to run for office," he added.
USG president David Ascher '99 said the change is a response to "students who feel overwhelmed with the amount of campaign literature." He added, "We're not limiting the number of fliers, but when it comes to prime space we want everyone to have room."
New election rules will require that, in order to win the election, a candidate must receive at least 10 percent of the total number of votes cast for any office in the same election. The USG has followed this rule unofficially in past elections but only recently codified it.
"A candidate isn't legitimate unless he gets a minimum showing of support," Ascher said.
The Elections Committee will consider a re-vote if a candidate does not receive the required 10 percent. This threshold for contested results does not apply to U-Council or Senate positions.
The USG has changed campaign policy for write-in candidates as well. Write-ins were previously exempt from election deadlines but are now subject to the same rules regarding deadlines and expenditure reports.
Write-ins will be required to adhere to the same point system as regular candidates. Candidates accumulate points by violating election procedures and are automatically disqualified after receiving 10 points.
"Every election, candidates are disqualified. We won't allow one candidate to harm the chances of another, even if it's done unintentionally," Ascher said.
He added, "We want to maintain the benefit of write-in candidates, but we also want to preserve the sanctity of campaign rules."
Merriweather said that write-in candidates should have the same opportunities to campaign but stressed that "it needs to be done fairly."
The USG implemented changes for the upcoming election mainly for "clarification purposes," Merriweather said, adding that the Elections Committee is constantly looking to make improvements.
"We learn something every time we do it," he said.
Ascher called the policy changes "preventative measures" and said the USG's goal for revising the election guidelines was to "create a more perfect document."