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Student Body Elections moved up to February

Staff Writer

Published: Friday, December 6, 2013

Updated: Friday, December 6, 2013 03:12

If you’re considering relaxing and running for Student Body Elections during winter break, you may want to choose one or the other.

While some students will be munching on candy canes and zoning out in front of a television to favorite holiday cartoons, others will be trying to gather petitions and preparing to run for Student Body Elections at the University of New Hampshire come February. 

This year, Speaker of the UNH Student Senate and Chair of the Election Committee Al Pace sent out an email to the student body on Nov. 11 announcing that elections will occur on Feb. 17 and Feb. 18. 

In the past, elections have been held in April, according to a 2012 Student Body election candidates’ webpage on the UNH site. 

“The entire schedule for Student Body Elections was changed last year, after the elections for that year had been completed, due to a bylaw change,” Pace said in an email. “This change was made because the Senate wanted elected officials [who do not always have Senate experience] to be able to sit in on general Senate meetings and other meetings.”

In essence, the reason for the change is to allow elected candidates to gain experience by sitting in on those meetings, according to Pace. The goal is for the candidates to perform with greater proficiency once they assume office.

For those running in the election, that means getting 300 non-duplicated UNH undergraduate signatures before the first day of classes – and petition deadline – on Jan. 21. 

“Realistically, the earlier deadline should not affect applications [and] applicants as there is, roughly, the same amount of time to fill them,” Pace said. “The only added difficulty is that a portion of the time overlaps with winter break.”

So far, no one has submitted any applications, but Pace said he would be surprised if they did. 

Last year, Pace said there were a high number of applications. Even so, there is no standard amount from year to year, but Pace does not believe there will be a big difference in submissions due to deadlines.

“Last year was unusual with the high number of applicants,” Pace said. “I would be very surprised, but pleased, if we have the same number as last year.” 

To be eligible to run in student body elections, a person must be a full-time undergraduate student with a 2.3 GPA or above. According to Pace’s email, the presidential candidates have to have at least three semesters at the Durham campus under their belts while vice presidential and university system student board representative candidates have to have at least one semester completed.

As of right now, Pace cannot discuss current candidates who may or may not run in the election. 

With the earlier deadline, though, Pace does not think time will be an issue for applicants to gather petitions and get ready to submit their forms when they get back to campus. 

“I believe it may be more difficult than in the past,” he said, “but manageable.”

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