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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Student Government

Election commission attracts criticism

As the Student Government Association elections come to a close, a former election commissioner is criticizing the way this year’s election process has been conducted.

The concerns given include the allowance of illegal campaign activities, insufficient advertisement of the election and a lackluster usage of the appropriated election commission budget.

“I wouldn’t go as far as to say the funds are being misused. I would, however, say that they don’t seem to be being used at all,” history senior and former election commissioner Amy Radley said. “Besides this weeks’ Daily Cougar ads and the yard signs, I have seen zero anything.”

Radley also said she has heard from students that they were not aware they could run for SGA because it was not announced.

Radley said advertising the opportunity to run for student office as well as to vote in the senate elections is one of the primary functions of the election commission, Radley said, in addition to such tasks as approving all campaign advertisements and making sure the candidates are following the rules ⎯ a job, she said, they are not doing.

“I would have been much tougher on the candidates,” Radley said. “I have already seen illegal postings and improper use of copyrighted UH symbols.”

Radley said the last-minute appointment by the SGA to the election commission and the last-minute amendments to the constitution perhaps contributed to these matters. She said she had been elected several months in advance to prepare, but the current election commissioners have had much less time to get their bearings.

Chief Election Commissioner Jamie Naugle agrees.

“Myself, along with the other two election commissioners, have been in our positions for a little over a month now,” she said. “Because of the short time we have spent in our positions thus far, we have had to learn as we go.”

Naugle denies any notion that the commission’s funds were used irresponsibly.

“The vast majority of our budget was actually spent on marketing materials,” Naugle said. “Had we been elected to our positions earlier, we could have had the opportunity to advertise the filing period to a greater extent, but due to our time crunch, we were not able to advertise as widely as we would have liked to.”

Radley said the SGA “really dropped the ball” on this issue.

“I was asked in November to be a part of it, and I agreed, but it wasn’t until a few days prior to February that the other two commissioners were going to be voted on, which means (over) the entire vacation, no work could be done on the election,” Radley said. “I withdrew because, to me, the time allowed would not have been enough to do all that should be done and all that the University deserves.”

Regardless, Radley praises the people doing the job that she deems “very difficult and very stressful.”

For Naugle, this statement is all too familiar.

“Although no process, organization or entity is free of mistakes or flaws, we take every experience as a learning experience that can be improved upon in the coming years,” Naugle said.

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