Story by Larissa Wurm
And to make sure that all is fair and all rules are being followed is the Drake Election Commission.
There is a set of bylaws that all candidates are required to follow. If any of those rules are violated, then they must go to a hearing in front of the Election Commission, a panel of students who monitor campus elections.
“We look at each violation on a case-to-case basis,” Julianne Klampe, a sophomore international relations and politics major and the co-chair of the Election Commission said. “Then, we might issue either a warning or a punishment to the candidate.” Klampe ran for Student Senate last year.
Punishments are either monetary or within a point system. Depending on the violation, a candidate may receive a certain amount of points. Once the points go over 500, the candidates are taken off the ballot.
Matthew Van Hoeck, a senior environmental policy and law, politics and society major, and Election Commission co-chair, said people rarely break 500.
“However, if it is a violation of an ethics code, that is an automatic 501 and the candidate will be taken off the ballot,” Van Hoeck said.
The Election Commission also addresses complaints that are filed against candidates.
“The most difficult part of the job as a Commission member, to me, was learning the by-laws,” said Drake alumna Jessie Hill, who was the former chair of the commission.
Hill said people also don’t know all the planning that goes into student election.
“The chair and co-chair have so much to go keep track of. From making sure all emails are answered, to organizing the Commission together every night of the election, monitoring all candidate activity and checking the complaint box,” she said.
Van Hoeck has also added online activity to that list. He sets up the online voting system that everyone sees on blueView and is also trying to promote more awareness of the elections online.
“Go vote!” he said.
The Drake Election Commission started a Facebook page with all updates. Van Hoeck has also been tweeting updates like upcoming events and petition due dates.
One of Klampe’s favorite parts of being on the commission is election night.
“We eat pizza and stay up late to announce the results at 12:01 a.m.,” Klampe said. “It’s really funny to see how many votes Drake Squirrel gets each election.”
In the past, members of Election Commission are recruited by members of the previous year.
“Others should get involved to understand how election management operates,” Hill said. “I loved every minute of Election Commission, even the stressful parts, and I wouldn’t trade my experiences with it for the world. It’s such an interesting process.”
If anyone is interested in the future, they should speak to the chair(s), current members or student senators.