Confusion over the number of campaign signs allowed per grass plot during Associated Students elections ended after the A.S. Elections Committee made its ruling Wednesday on the disagreement.
Differing interpretations over the wording of the A.S. constitutional by-laws that govern how many signs can be posted on each grass plot were a source of confusion among candidates during the two weeks leading up to elections.
“Our interpretation was that we could have two signs per grass plot that said the party name and two signs per party candidate, and at the bottom of those you could put the party name,” Ginger Gonzaga, S.U.N. presidential candidate, said.
The by-law was interpreted differently by Gauchoholic presidential candidate Randy Wright.
“When I was putting up signs … [I] interpreted it as exactly what was stated. It said ‘two signs per party per grass plot and two per candidate if unaffiliated.’ We felt we went by that, so for each grass plot, we put two per plot,” Wright said.
On the evening of April 6, when campaign signs were to be posted, Gonzaga and Wright called A.S. Elections Committee Chair Jim Keenley for clarification of the by-laws.
“He said, ‘Yes, you can put both S.U.N and a candidate [on the signs],’ and then Ed [Yan, a member of the elections committee] was biking around and he told us otherwise, so we started ripping the word ‘S.U.N.’ from all of our posters,” Gonzaga said. “It got really confusing, and basically Jim Keenley kind of made it a free-for-all because the interpretation was really bad.”
The A.S. by-law regarding limits on the number of signs in grass plots states: “Signs will also be limited to two signs per party per grass plot and two signs per candidate per grass plot if running unaffiliated, and two signs per ballot measure.”
Several candidates requested clarification of the by-law by the A.S. Elections Committee; its final ruling on the interpretation was made Wednesday. The ruling stated that each party is allowed to have two signs per party per grass plot and two signs per candidate per grass plot, regardless of the candidate’s party affiliation.
“The by-law, the way it was worded, didn’t make any mention of candidates running with a party,” said Jim Keenley, A.S. Elections Committee chair.
The original intent of the bill was to clean up the campus by limiting the number of signs per candidate, said Manuel Silva, A.S. Finance Board chair and co-author of the original amendment.
“Two signs per party … and then two per candidate if they are running unaffiliated,” Silva said.
With the new interpretation of the by-law, candidates running with a party who feel they have been disadvantaged by a misinterpretation of the rule can still put up more signs up to the maximum number allowed under the by-law, Don Daves-Rougeaux, A.S. executive director, said.
“The candidate that brought up the complaint still has the option to post more signs,” Daves-Rougeaux said.