The Sam Houston State University Student Government Association election code changed after a unanimous vote during Tuesday’s meeting.
The new code combined the executive board and homecoming rules for a more streamlined process.
“I’m excited for [the changes]; it was a group effort,” SGA President Spencer Copeland said. “Everybody pitched in and had their own ideas. We had open discussion senate meetings where ideas were pitched in and written down. It wasn’t my code, it was our code.”
Changes to the election code include new requirements for SGA election procedures regarding legal and preferred names as well as senatorial and presidential candidate campaigns.
After running into a hiccup last spring, election ballots will now contain both a legal name and a preferred name for each candidate. The election commission has final say on whether preferred names are appropriate or allowed.
“The reason it was written as legal name and not preferred name [last spring] was because if I wanted to run as ‘Sammy the Bearkat,’ who’s not going to vote for Sammy the Bearkat?” Copeland said. “[Now,] if I wanted to run as anything inappropriate, vulgar or just a name that’s unreasonable here on the ballot, the election commission has that say.”
According to the new election code, the election commission has the power to disqualify any candidates for a preferred name so long as they find it inappropriate. The way the rule is worded states they can do so without explanation.
However, Copeland said it is up to the student body president at the time to make sure the commissioners on the election commission do not abuse this power.
“The accountabilities that the senate and the president has is to actually pick competent, qualified individuals, someone who will be professional and reasonable in making rulings, not only on names but on disqualifications or any kind of punitive actions,” Copeland said.
According to the edited election code, the election commission is also responsible for all disciplinary action regarding all campaigning for student body elections.
Violations have been divided into three categories, class A, B and C, with class A being the most serious infractions while class C violations consist of things like excess amounts of campaign signs.
Class A violations can conclude in disqualification from election at the commission’s discretion.
The approved changes to the election code apply to both homecoming and spring elections.
SGA will meet next Tuesday in the Lowman Student Center room 320 at 6:30 p.m.