ASUU appoints new elections registrar

By By Rochelle McConkie

By Rochelle McConkie

Former ASUU Deputy Attorney General and Student Outreach Director Lorraine Evans has been appointed to serve as Elections Registrar for the 2006-2007 school year.

Evans will be replacing Jeff Mathis, who served during the 2005-2006 term. A new elections registrar is chosen each year.

In this position, Evans hopes to reform Redbook–the Associated Students of the University of Utah’s constitution–to clarify financial election policies. She also plans to reform posting guidelines and clarify campaign poster rules in the Residence Halls.

“There are a lot of gray areas concerning expenditures, making it easy to break rules,” Evans said. “I want to clarify things so I can help candidates maintain their integrity.”

In last year’s elections, BLOC Party candidates Jake Kirkham and Toby Collett were almost taken off the ballot after the ASUU Supreme Court ruled that they had not listed all their expenditures at fair market value-a Redbook requirement for all campaign purchases. Kirkham and Collett appealed to the Committee of Student Affairs and were allowed to continue their campaigns.

Evans said, “In Redbook, it’s hazy about listing everyday retail price or fair market value. We want to clarify that what you spend is what you report.”

As elections registrar, Evans will initially form the elections packet, encourage people to run for ASUU elections and oversee election regulations and policies.

Evans is in the process of assembling an elections analysis committee to help make decisions that she said “are not unilateral.” The committee will comprise people who have sat in past elections, former elections registrars, campaign managers and students at large.

The committee will meet for the first time next week and will begin working on campaign finance reform.

Evans said she also hopes to see a higher voter turnout for the ASUU elections. “With more students voting, there is more validation for ASUU,” she said.

The ASUU election season will begin at the end of January, when students can officially file their candidacy. Dialogue week and posting will occur at the end of February and voting will occur at the beginning of March. Final election results will be announced March 16 at the Rock the U dance marathon.

Evans said her experience working with election policy as deputy attorney general prepared her for this appointment.

ASUU spokesman Cameron Beech said, “Lorraine was chosen because she is a highly qualified candidate with experience in elections.”

Kirkham said Evans had great ideas to generate excitement about elections and to encourage more students to vote in ASUU elections. She plans to organize debates and incorporate elections into other events, he said.

“The biggest issue we’re dealing with is increasing student-voter turnout,” Kirkham said. “It’s important to get as many students as possible to vote so student voices are heard. Last year, we had about 3,000 students vote-we would love it if all 29,000 students voted. We want a clean campaign that encourages candidates to follow the rules.”