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UPUA Bans Election Cross-Filing, Outside Campaign Funding

It’s not quite #ElectionSZN, but UPUA is already preparing for the election of its Thirteenth Assembly, and as such spent its weekly meeting Wednesday night amending and approving its Election Code.

Most notably, the assembly decided to eliminate the possibility of candidates cross-filing, or running simultaneously on an executive ticket and for a legislative seat. Cross-filing was first allowed in the 2014 election, and just four years later it’s back out.

Here’s a quick summary of the main arguments against cross-filing:

  • Candidates should be able to commit to the position they actually want.
  • Candidates who hope to fill a legislative seat could run on an executive ticket (knowing they’d ultimately lose) for the increased spending limit and publicity.
  • Candidates who lose their executive races and ultimately fill legislative seats lose interest in the organization and ultimately do not fulfill the obligations of their positions.

“To my knowledge, everyone that’s cross-filed has always won a legislative seat,” Speaker Brent Rice said after the meeting. He added that since he’s been involved (starting with the ninth assembly) everyone who has cross-filed and ultimately made it to the assembly in a legislative seat has ultimately not finished their term.

From a delve into our own archives, only four individuals on executive tickets have ventured to cross-file through the past four elections it has been implemented: Melissa McCleery and Tim Rinehart (Ninth Assembly) and Hamsa Fayed and Dylan Sundy (Tenth Assembly). All four were elected to legislative seats.

I’m a little unclear about this one, but Ryan Belz also ran on an executive ticket and ultimately served in a legislative position, though our records indicate he wasn’t originally cross-listed. Then again, nothing is ever “business as usual” when it comes to Ryan Belz. He was sworn in during the first UPUA meeting of the fall semester.

I’ll give Brent the benefit of the doubt here, as he was a senior in high school when McCleery and Rinehart were elected, but I should clarify both McCleery and Rinehart served their terms through, according to UPUA’s Ninth Assembly attendance and voting documents.

On the other hand, Fayed and Sundy don’t appear in any meeting minutes published online from the Tenth Assembly, so it’s safe to say these are the two cross-listed candidates who did not finish out their terms. On a more personal note, I started following UPUA a few weeks before the end of the Tenth Assembly, and neither name rings a bell for me.

A motion to amend the amendment — to allow cross-filing after all — failed with a narrow 15-18 voting margin, proving the assembly was truly split on whether or not to allow it. But alas, what’s done is done.

In other news, write-in candidates will now be required to register with the Elections Commission by the day before Election Day and will on Election Day be subject to all regular Elections Code policies. Anyone who wins a write-in candidacy but is not registered with the Elections Commission will not be allowed to hold office.

The assembly also approved an amendment that blocks non-Penn State University Park students from campaigning in person on campus on election day, and added the following language that prevents candidates from accepting excessive outside funds:

No candidate may accept monetary payment or donation from any University or non-University affiliated organization for the expressed purpose of running for office that is in excess of the candidates spending limit.

Financial assistance must be disclosed on a publicly available form with the specifications of organization name, amount, and date of transaction.

Any candidate who knowingly accepts payment or donation from any University or non-University affiliated organization for their campaign shall be eligible for disqualification by the Elections Commission.

UPUA elections are typically held in March after students return from spring break. I, for one, can’t wait (Note: sarcasm).

The Assembly also unanimously passed Bill 10-12, Funding for Shuttle Stop Benches, which contributes $3,500 of UPUA funding to a total $24,500 project that will place benches at seven CATA bus stops to make them more accessible to students with disabilities, and unanimously with one abstention passed Bill 11-12, UPUA Funding for Coffee for Finals, which provides free Starbucks coffee in the HUB during finals week.

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About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa was the managing editor of Onward State from 2017-2019. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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