USG election season kicks off on Friday

With the 2010 Undergraduate Student Government election season beginning Friday, USG officials are hoping the race will be a little less controversial than last year.

Meeting of the minds · In February, students will have a chance to vote for the next Undergraduate Student Government president and vice president, who will oversee USG’s operations for the next year. - Sunil Murali | Daily Trojan

After a tumultuous election season last year, changes have been applied to the Elections Code to ensure that this year’s race runs smoothly.

“Last year was a total mess,” Emiko Suzuki, co-director of Elections and Recruitment, said. “USG looked bad, the candidates looked bad, everyone was upset that it was happening … We just really want to prevent that.”

During last year’s elections, there were accusations of misconduct among the candidates that lead to the eventual disqualification of one campaign, as well as general confusion among the student body.

This year, the Elections and Recruitment team synchronized the Elections Code with all the other official documents on campus, such as USC Housing rules about posting fliers and the USG bylaws, so there would be fewer contradictions and less confusion with election rules.

“It was just so hectic last year with the Election Code written the way it was,” USG Vice President Ashlie Chan said. “There’s so many things that were tightened up a little bit … We’re really excited because I think it’s going to cause less conflict.”

USG has also removed the volunteer sheets from the process, deciding that they are no longer necessary because they posed possible confusion in usage, Chan said. Last year, anyone who volunteered with a campaign had to turn in a volunteer sheet to the USG office, but the definition of volunteer was unclear and the process was confusing.

“We tried to make it a little bit more clear,” Suzuki said. “Just for it to be more coherent; when you’re reading it you’ll know what the rules are. There aren’t weird loopholes that you can use to attack someone else.”

USG is hoping the new rules and regulations will lead to a calmer, less controversial election period.

“We hope that this year there will be very few complaints and people are just enjoying their time running a campaign,” Suzuki said. “We want everyone to play nice and play fair.”

Some students, however, said it wasn’t just the controversy that kept them from voting last year.

Cara Chang, a junior majoring in kinesiology and biological sciences, said she didn’t vote last year because she didn’t know how.

“I didn’t really care because anything they do doesn’t have much of an effect on me,” she said. “I’m probably not going to vote this year either because it doesn’t seem like it will make much of a difference.”

Some students, however, said they think it is important to vote.

“I think it’s important who runs the school, and if you don’t vote, you never have a say, and when you do vote, it reflects your own values and goals,” said David Alvarez, a sophomore majoring in communication.