New campaign rules create problems for potential candidates

As student government elections approach, several potential candidates are saying the new rules that restrict campaigning make recruiting students for their parties too difficult.

According to the Associated Students of the University of Utah Redbook rules, candidates cannot e-mail, text message, call or approach students to get them involved in their party unless the student has expressed prior interest in the campaign or a party member already personally knows the student. The rules also prohibit the distribution of flyers or pamphlets before Feb. 28, when active campaigning begins.

Several potential candidates say these rules make it nearly impossible to recruit students who have never been involved in ASUU before.

“The guidelines are fairly ambiguous?it makes it tough to just go out there and talk to people,” said Mike Anderson, a senior political science major and potential presidential candidate. “Unless students know someone in a party, it’s hard to get involved?but I think ASUU is doing the best job they can with the rules that are in place.”

Jeff Mathis, elections registrar for ASUU, said the rules are necessary because they prevent any one party from getting an early jump on campaigning.

“I’m trying to protect the privacy of students who choose not to get involved in the elections process,” said Mathis. “It’s all about building a network?candidates need to make those connections.”

It is always difficult to define the line between active campaigning and recruitment, but the rules aren’t meant to inhibit party formation, Jennifer Jankowski, a senior political science major, said.

Another rule designed to stop early campaigning this year requires that all parties run their Web site through the ASUU server to prevent any party from posting their Web site before active campaigning begins.

Mathis said this will save candidates quite a bit of money because they won’t have to pay for their own server.

Anderson also said hosting the party Web sites through the ASUU server will be a good change because students can learn more about how student government works on the ASUU Web site.

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