Sanctions kick off first day of legislative elections

The first day of the legislative campaigns started Monday with several sanctions issued to five student Senate candidates.

The WSUSA elections committee sanctioned Andrea Mancilla for starting her campaigning too early. Candidates Jarrod Mau, Juhi Dubal, Slim Khalifa and Larry Robinson also were sanctioned for failing to hand in their spending forms before the deadline.

(Emily Crooks/ The Signpost)
Senators hold a meeting in the Shepherd Union on Monday. Elections for next year’s WSUSA senators began earlier in the day. (Emily Crooks/ The Signpost)

The first sanction was issued to Hispanic senator candidate Mancilla, who had a grievance filed against her for distributing campaign materials before active campaigning began on Monday.

According to the grievance form filed against the candidate, posters promoting Mancilla’s campaign were seen above drinking fountains in the Shepherd Union on Friday, three days before the active campaigning date.

The elections packet defines active campaigning as posting signs and distributing campaign materials during the election.

Candidates are allowed to participate in passive campaigning, to “talk to people about why you’re running, but you cannot distribute any campaign materials, put up signs, hold rallies,” before the active campaigning date, the election rules say.

(Emily Crooks/ The Signpost)
Senator Diez, Senate President Jeffery Henry and Senator May organize the Senate meeting on Monday. (Emily Crooks/ The Signpost)

The Election Committee sanctioned Mancilla two hours of active campaigning time, which meant she could not campaign between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Monday.

“Because she had campaigned from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, we tried to make sure that the sanction mirrored as close as possible to the infraction that happened,” said Sheldon Cheshire, coordinator of leadership programs.

Additionally, sanctions were issued to four  candidates for failure to hand in their receipts and spending forms by the deadline.

Election rules require “any goods or services purchased by a candidate before 7:59 a.m. on March 30, 2015, must be turned in to the Elections Committee by 8 a.m. on March 30, 2015.”

The sanctions were given to student senator candidates Mau, Dubal, Khalifa and Robinson who will be docked 25 percent of total votes during the time frame that their forms and receipts were not handed in.

Cheshire said that the sanction was a great way to remind the candidates without being too harsh that there are consequences for violations of the rules.

“In that case, it was a really good opportunity to say that we as the elections committee do understand and sometimes we do have those types of errors that happen, but (candidates) need to recognize that there are still sanctions for that,” he said, “So 25 percent seemed like a fair sanction.”

According to Cheshire, the elections committee tries to match the punishment to the violation as much as possible. With sanctions ranging from taking away votes to complete disqualification, Cheshire said that the committee is devoted to making sure the elections remain fair.

So far for Cheshire, the week of elections is off to a good start.

“I mean, we had a few issues and violations, most of which revolved around making sure that receipts were turned in and addressing filed grievances,” he said. “But I think the first day went really well.”

The legislative elections will continue throughout the week with the announcement of the new student senators on Friday.