The gag is off, and the race is on—almost.
The Undergraduate Council’s Election Commission certified six candidates each for president and vice president and lifted its nearly two-week-long ban on candidates’ communication with the media in a meeting last night.
The media restriction originally arose from the commission’s concern that certain candidates could enjoy an unfair advantage over others long before campaigning was officially set to begin, according to Election Commission Chair David I. Monteiro ’04. The start date for this year’s race is Dec. 2.
The commission also announced that six tickets of candidates have been certified. The slate of president candidates and their running-mates, respectively, are Rohit Chopra ’04 and Jessica R. Stannard-Friel ’04, David M. Darst ’04 and Shira S. Simon ’04, Albert J. Lim ’04 and Seth N. Kisch ’04, Jason L. Lurie ’05 and Alexander S. Misono ’04, Hunter A. Maats ’04 and John Paul M. Fox ’04, and Fred O. Smith ’04 and Justin R. Chapa ’05.
Now, candidates may speak with the media but cannot make “broadly public” statements endorsing their candidacy, according to Monteiro.
But the commission has already penalized one ticket for violating campaign regulations.
Monteiro wrote to the council’s e-mail list last night that the Darst campaign violated election rules.
The commission cited Darst for greeting people outside of a classroom and for publicly using campaign paraphernalia before campaigning was scheduled to begin.
According to the e-mail, Darst’s actions “were inappropriate and demonstrated poor judgment in the interpretation of the interim rules of which he was, judging from our correspondence with him, aware.”
Darst said the commission’s response was unwarranted.
“While I respect the members of the [Election Commission] and fully believe they are attempting to regulate the election as fairly as possible, I believe their ruling in this particular case was mistaken,” Darst wrote early this morning in an e-mail statement. “Nevertheless, this ruling in no way affects my overall campaign strategy.”
Monteiro said last night that the commission reserves the right to apply any of its rules or standards retroactively.
A source close to the campaign said Darst did not have access to the council’s campaign rules until after the infraction had occurred.
Some candidates questioned the logic of the election commission’s media policy and the necessity of the earlier gag-order.
“The media ban is utterly unfair,” Maats wrote in an e-mail one day before the ban was lifted. “It precludes any discussion of the issues in a wider forum and ensures that the same old UC crowd will win purely based on name recognition.”
Monteiro said some of the council’s rules regarding campaigning were confusing and potentially in conflict with each other.
The elections will last three days, starting on Monday, Dec. 9. Voting is expected to take place via an online system.
—Ronaldo Rauseo-Ricupero contributed to the reporting of this story.
—Staff writer Alexander J. Blenkinsopp can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.