Congratulations to the brand new student senators elected this week. For full results, please visit our elections page.
In the coming weeks we’ll be talking with the new freshman/transfer senators to learn more about their big plans for the upcoming semester. Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with Dominic Pino, Chairman of the Election of Disputes Commission (EDC), to learn more about the commission and its role in Student Government.
- So, Dominic, what is the role of the EDC?
- The EDC is the third branch of Student Government, and we serve a similar function to the judicial branch in the United States government. We rule on cases that are brought to us and settle disputes between the other two branches. Unlike the judicial branch, however, we also hold the elections for the other two branches of Student Government. We write the Election Code and oversee all the relevant forms and procedures for running for office.
- What is your role as the chief commissioner?
- I was elected by the other members of the Commission to be the chair. It’s mostly a “first among equals” situation as I don’t have any extra say in the decisions we make. However, I run our meetings and officially announce any rulings we make.
- What was the turnout for this year’s online interest meetings?
- We’re only halfway through our schedule of candidacy meetings, but so far have had great turnout. There are a ton if interested candidates.
- How did COVID-19 changed the election and campaigning process?
- We’ve moved it all online. Voting is always online anyway, so no changes there, and that’s the most important part. All candidacy forms are online, but again, that’s normal. Our candidacy meetings have all been online, which is a change from normal, but that probably helped accessibility more than it hurt it. Campaigning is the biggest change, since we are having no in-person campaigning. We made that decision out of fairness for the more students than normal who are living off campus, many of whom are living in different states and can’t even get to campus. There’s still plenty of campaigning to be done online, so focusing on social media should still generate excitement for candidates to get out the vote.
- What improvements does the EDC hope to make this year?
- We hope to improve our coordination with the rest of Student Government to advertise elections and get the word out about candidacy meetings. I’ve been happy with our progress so far in that respect, although we could always improve.
- What is the expected voter turnout, and how is that affected by COVID-19?
- It’s really hard to anticipate what the turnout will be since COVID-19 means that so many students are distant from campus. We’re in uncharted territory just like everyone else. (Since this interview, though, the top candidate had received almost 300 votes, which is not bad considering the circumstances.)
- What is the importance of voting in Student Government elections?
- This is how students get a say in how things are done at Mason. Pay attention during campaign season and keep an eye out for candidates who support things you agree with. The fall elections are especially important since the seats are reserved for freshmen and transfer students. Freshman could serve for years in Student Senate if they get elected now, and more time in office means more time to change things.
- Where and when can students find out about the election results?
- Election results will be posted on the GMUSG website on Thursday, October 1st by 12:00 PM. They will also be emailed directly to all candidates. The first Student Senate meeting with the newly elected senators will be at 4:30 PM that same day.