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USG winter election cycle begins Dec. 6

<h5>Naomi Hess ’22 presents on the Disability Task Force during this week’s USG meeting.</h5>
<h6>Andrew Somerville / The Daily Princetonian</h6>
Naomi Hess ’22 presents on the Disability Task Force during this week’s USG meeting.
Andrew Somerville / The Daily Princetonian

The Undergraduate Student Government (USG) will hold elections for executive officers and class senators during the week of Dec. 6. Executive positions up for election include President, Vice President, Treasurer, Academics Chair, Undergraduate Life Chair, Campus and Community Affairs Chair, Social Chair, and Sustainability Chair. The Classes of 2025, 2024, and 2023 will also elect two Class Senators each. Campaigning will begin after students return from Thanksgiving break on Nov. 29.

Students who are interested in running for either an executive office or a Class Senate position are expected to attend at least one of two open houses. The first will take place on Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. via Zoom, and the second will take place on Nov. 20 at 8 p.m. in Frist 204. Registration forms will be distributed to potential candidates at these events. 

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This election cycle’s candidate registration deadline is Nov. 23 at 11:59 p.m. By this date, candidates must have collected the sufficient amount of student signatures for their position. Those running for Class Senate must obtain 25 signatures from students in their class year, while candidates for USG executive offices require 50 undergraduate student signatures.

When campaigning begins, students should expect to see candidates and referendum sponsors using both paper and electronic campaigning mechanisms — for example, flyers or social media outreach. Candidates are prohibited from door-to-door petitioning and utilizing grade-wide and residential college listservs. 

Voting for all elections takes place anonymously on the online platform Election Runner. Upon the commencement of the voting period, each undergraduate student will be sent their unique login by email. For the upcoming election, voting will open on Dec. 6 at noon and will conclude on Dec. 9 at noon. Each student will be prompted to fill out two ballots. The first ballot will be distributed University-wide and will contain the candidates for executive offices and referenda. The second ballot will be used for the election of Class Senators. Each student will only be able to vote for the senators for their respective class. The results of the election will be announced to the candidates by noon on Dec. 10 and will be communicated to the larger student body later that day. The USG elections office encourages any student that experiences difficulties with their login or casting their votes to contact usgvote@princeton.edu.

Students may also be presented with the opportunity to vote on referenda (similar to the ballot questions posed in state and local elections) during the winter and spring cycles. All results are announced to the student body 48 hours after the voting period closes. 

The student body was required to submit any referenda to be considered for the ballot this winter by Nov. 14. According to USG Chief Elections Manager Brian Li ’24, these referenda often pertain to campus life and academic affairs. There are three pending Senate approval at this time. According to Li, in some election cycles, many referenda will appear on the ballot; in others, there will be none.

The referendum proposal deadline for the fall and winter election cycles is 7–10 days before the referendum language review, which is the first step in the approval process. This date will be communicated in the USG newsletter. Proposals must be submitted to the Chief Elections Officer and must include the sponsor’s name, class year, contact information, and the general purpose of the proposed referendum.

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In order for a referendum to appear on the ballot, 10 percent of the undergraduate student body must sign on by Nov. 26 at 11:59 p.m. When voting closes, a referendum will pass if one third of the student body has voted in the election and more than 50 percent of those who cast a ballot voted in favor of the referendum.

There are three USG election cycles in each academic year. The fall cycle takes place between the fourth Monday after Labor Day and Oct. 22 and is used to elect the five Class Officers for the Class of 2025.

The upcoming winter election cycle takes place between the fourth Monday after the end of the fall recess and the first Monday of December, and it will involve the election of executive officers and two senators for the first-year, sophomore, and junior classes.

The final election cycle takes place between the fourth Monday after spring recess and April 21. During this election, students select U-Councilors and Class Officers for the rising sophomore, junior, and senior classes. 

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If a candidate feels that they have been treated unfairly by the Elections Manager or that another candidate has gained an unfair advantage throughout the campaigning process, they can appeal to the Chief Elections Manager. If a candidate is dissatisfied with the results of the election, they can request that the Chief Elections Manager oversee a revote. The Chief Elections Manager may determine that a revote is unnecessary at which point the candidate can appeal directly to the Senate. However, Li explained that appeals are rare. 

Students who wish to learn more about USG elections can view the USG Elections Handbook and the USG Winter 2021 Elections Calendar.

Li strongly encourages students to vote: “Participating in these elections is an important responsibility as a community member; it ensures that your interests are represented in the decision making of the school,” he said.

Brooke McCarthy is a first-year and a News and Print Design contributor for the ‘Prince.’ She can be reached at bm0015@princeton.edu or @brooke_mccarthy32 on Instagram.

Annie Rupertus is a first-year and a News and Print Design contributor for the 'Prince.' She can be reached at arupertus@princeton.edu or @annierupertus on Instagram and Twitter.

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