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Candidates seeking to lead the next Undergraduate Council kicked off their respective campaigns this week with a haze of over-enthusiastic postering that violated guidelines set by the Election Commission.
Renegade posters, which do not adhere to the Commission’s regulations limiting their size, quantity and location, draw financial penalties for the candidates they endorse.
As of yesterday, the second day of the campaigning, the Election Commission had distributed 29 violations—23 on Monday and six yesterday—among all six presidential and vice presidential candidates, who must operate within a $100 budget.
“A lot of them can’t afford to have many days like Monday,” Chair of the Election Committee Jonathan D. Einkauf ’06 said.
Each violation is evaluated for its severity and designated a certain monetary amount to be deducted from the offender’s campaign budget.
Einkauf said that there were fewer violations yesterday because candidates explained poster rules to their staffs following Monday’s crackdown.
The majority of campaign violations are reported to the Election Commission by members of a competing campaign, which often causes animosity among some of the tickets.
“Other campaigns are quick to turn each other in,” said Teo P. Nicolais ’06 who is running for council president and has stressed his objections to this “punitive” style of campaigning. Nicolais, who is the current chair of the council’s Financial Committee (FiCom) lost 20 percent of his campaign budget over the past two days for early campaigning and poster violations.
Council presidential hopefuls Matthew P. Glazer ’06 and Tracy T. Moore II ’06 also received hits to their respective campaign funds, but both fines were under $5.
Moore, a council outsider and vice president of the Black Men’s Forum whose platform stresses the importance of diversity within the council and College said he was not concerned with his budget anyway. “We’re trying to build this up from the bottom at the student level, not the ivory towers.”
Glazer, the current Student Affairs Committee chair whose platform pushes to improve the fiscal responsibility of the council as well as making Harvard feel like a home for students, said that the $100 budget is a challenge, but that it is necessary to make all the campaigns fair.
“It’s very important to us that all of our staff and all of the people helping understand [the rules],” Glazer said.
All three tickets said that they discussed the rules with their campaign staff to prevent further penalties, but some candidates found their supporters’ enthusiasm hard to curb.
“We even had people making their own posters and putting them out without our consent,” said FiCom Vice Chair Ian W. Nichols ’06 who is running for vice president with Moore. “It’s hard to police that.”
Nicolais said his campaign faced violations after supporters mistakenly placed posters in restricted areas like proctor bulletin boards in freshman dorms.
“We have a great group of people who are working with us and sometimes they are a little too excited,” said Nicolais. He said that his platform appeals to freshmen because of its emphasis on hosting more social events and to upperclassmen for its emphasis on fiscal responsibility.
Despite the monetary penalties, candidates said they are enjoying the race.
“We’ve been getting a ton of positive response,” said Clay T. Capp ’06, who won the College Democrats’ endorsement along with Glazer yesterday. “Almost everyone on the UC supports us.”
Samita A. Mannapperuma ’06, who is running for vice president alongside Nicolais, said that she has not gotten much sleep since the start of campaigning.
“It’s really exciting to see people respond to our campaign,” said Mannapperuma, who is also dating Nicolais.
In addition to paper campaigns, Glazer-Capp and Nicolais-Mannapperuma have both launched websites, and Moore said he will not be far behind.
“Their websites lull me to sleep,” said Moore, promising that his would be more interesting once it is up and running.
The candidates have five more days to polish their campaigns before voting begins on Monday.
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