Despite lack of contestation, candidates take race seriously

This year’s SGA election campaigns, which began today, will look different than most because of new campaign rules and six out of seven uncontested races for an executive office.

Kelli Knox-Hall, convener of the SGA elections board, said the biggest change this year is the length of the campaign period for candidates. In years past, candidates had a period for early campaigning in addition to the regular period. The elections board voted to condense this year’s campaign to two weeks, ending when polls open at 7 a.m. Tuesday, March 12.

Candidates are also no longer allowed to create a stand-alone website for their campaigns. Instead, they are asked to use only Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for social media outreach.

Knox-Hall said to be on the lookout for a few students who may run as write-in candidates for executive offices. Also campaigning are more than 70 students running for senate positions. She said the board hopes election time will still be exciting around campus.

“I think candidates will still get out and try to meet students and get their ideas,” Knox- Hall said. “The candidates will still be making connections, even if they’re unopposed.”

Emily Passwaters, a sophomore majoring in telecommunication and film, is one of only two candidates with an opponent. She will run against Mary Wills for the executive secretary position. Passwaters, who ran for a senate position last year, said she likes the new rules, even if they make it seem harder to advertise.

“I don’t think it will be difficult personally,” Passwaters said. “Nothing has changed for me since last year. It won’t be a limitation.”

Passwaters plans to use buttons, fliers and pens as a part of her campaign, as well as walking around campus and talking to students in person.

Will Pylant, current vice president of student affairs, is running uncontested for executive vice president. Pylant is among the five candidates running unopposed for an executive office, including president. He was surprised, and a little disappointed, to find himself without a competitor.

“I think it’s good to have an opponent because it gives you a sense of healthy competition and forces you to do a good job,” Pylant said.

Pylant plans to continue his normal campaign, handing out things like buttons and handbills on campus and creating a Facebook event. He still wants to talk to students and hear their thoughts and concerns, he said.

“For me, it won’t change anything,” Pylant said. “I still want people to feel comfortable about voting for me, and make sure they know I appreciate their votes.”

But Pylant said he can’t be completely confident about winning the race yet.

“I still have to watch out for the ‘Nick Saban’ write-ins,” he said.

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