Election Period Extended

UC presidential candidates granted additional week to campaign

A year after the Undergraduate Council presidential election registered its lowest vote totals in more than a decade, candidates in the current election will have more time to make contact with potential supporters.

The UC Election Commission lengthened this year’s presidential campaign from four days to 11, giving student government hopefuls an extra week to preen and be vetted before polls open on Dec. 12.

Election Commission Chair Steven T. Cupps ’09 said that the Commission decided on the longer campaign to allow more time for student group endorsements and the organization of an additional debate between the candidates.

Current UC Vice President Randall R. Sarafa ’09 said he suggested that the Commission extend the campaign period after reflecting on the short 2007 campaign.

Sarafa added that he hoped the additional days would allow candidates to increase their exposure to students.

Sarafa said that voting traditionally spans three days and last year’s four was an exception.

In a move that may tug voting totals the other direction, students will only have a three-day window to log their votes online, down from a four-day period last year.

The majority of this year’s voting will take place over a weekend, making it a bit harder for campaigners to buttonhole voters directly on their way to classes and sections and posing another possible challenge to turnout totals.

Campaign managers from three of the five presidential tickets were largely noncommittal about whether the longer election period would have any effect on their planning.

“I don’t really know that it will have an effect,” said Daniel V. Kroop ’10, who manages the campaign of presidential candidate Andrea R. Flores ’10 and running mate Kia J. McLeod ’10. Kroop added that he thought that the extra time might encourage students to take another look at candidates.

William V. Leiter ’10, the campaign manager for Benjamin P. Schwartz ’10 and Alneada D. Biggers ’10, said that a longer campaign period is sure to demand a sustained effort but would not change the ticket’s strategy.

Ryan W. Taney ’09, the manager for the self-dubbed “joke campaign” of Michael C. Koenigs ’09 and Aneliese K. Palmer ’12, said the extended campaign will help his candidates build a grassroots movement that draws largely upon “disillusioned seniors.”

In addition to the calendar changes, the Commission added a clause this year to prohibit campaign giveaways—including candy, food, and merchandise—and guidelines to guard against tampering with votes.