Lane’s student government Elections Committee created official definition of campaigning, after The Torch ran an article about presidential candidate Michael Weed’s fundraising attempts eight weeks before the official campaign period.
Weed and his running mate, Malisa Ratthasing, created a page on crowdfunding website gofundme.com on Feb. 25. On the page, Weed described why he was running and asked for donations to help his campaign.
According to student government bylaws, no campaigning can happen outside of a designated one to three week window. The Elections Committee scheduled campaigning to begin April 14.
What qualifies as campaigning was not defined in either the student government bylaws nor the documentation the Elections Committee provided the candidates.
Weed claimed this was not pre-campaigning because he did not ask for votes.
The Elections Committee defined authorized pre-campaign work to include “fundraising and the development of campaign material and content.”
Campaigning is defined as “actively encouraging students to vote a particular way on any specific ballot measure/referendum or for any particular candidate.”
Student government Vice President Rebekah Ellis, who chairs the Elections Committee, said the committee created this definition in advance of any official complaints so the committee would have a prepared stance.
Gender, Sexuality and Diversity Advocate Max Jensen, who sits on the Elections Committee, said the official definition matches with previous policies.
In order to run a good presidential campaign, you need to prepare for it, he said. Candidates have announced their plans to run in the past prior to campaigning.
After reading the definition released by the Elections Committee, Ratthasing said she supports their interpretation.
Ratthasing said she believes that as long as candidates act with discretion and seek to raise funds off campus, it will not have an impact on the electorate.
“It makes sense. I mean, how could you start a campaign without having the funds or means to do it before the campaign season?” Ratthasing said.