Then-candidate Kristina Smith, a senior, became the new president of Duke Student Government after a drawn-out controversy involving her campaign’s use of an iPad.
In the Senate's first meeting under her term, senators made tweaks to election policies that included clarifying the rule at the center of the controversy.
“I’m actually very excited that this just passed,” Smith said after the meeting. “I think it will lead to better, more efficient, more equitable elections.”
Whereas electoral rules previously banned the possession of electronic devices by candidates or their campaigns who are campaigning while polls are open, this adjustment sharpens the rule by just banning the proffering of an electronic device.
Statutes to cut candidates’ requirement to report campaign materials to the attorney general and to cut the time limit for remediating polling violations also passed.
Senators voted to renew Duke’s contract with Turbo Vote as the official voting tool on campus. The one-year contract was renewed for $3,375.
“We like [Turbo Vote] here at Duke because it catches some of the nuances of voting registration,” said senior Brian Buhr, president of Duke University Union. “It gives us the institutional support. It’s used at many of our peer institutions of all sizes in North Carolina and across the country so they’re experts at [telling us] what could work at Duke.”
Five individuals were elected to the Board of Elections. Juniors Beepul Bharti and Manish Kumar and sophomores Brennan Halkidis and Dalia Dichter are all senators. Junior Ahmed Almansoori is the executive secretary.
Before nominations, Attorney General Anna Kasradze, a sophomore, encouraged senators to join the Board of Elections. She said the presence of DSG members would facilitate discussion over election violations.
“The effectiveness of the Board of Elections is directly proportional to the number of people on it,” Kasradze said.
In terms of increasing voter turnout, Kasradze wants to cut costs and increase an online presence.
“What we’re planning to do this year is not hand out flyers, not give people doughnuts and instead just use Facebook ads,” she said.
Get The Chronicle straight to your inbox
Signup for our editorially curated, weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.
In other business:
Junior Nico Bodkin was elected as chair of the Student Health Advisory Committee. Bodkin said his goal this year was to improve collaboration among members of the committee and called on senators to join and work with student health.
Senators Alyson Diaz and Jia Jia Shen, both sophomores, were elected to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Shen was also voted onto the Financial Oversight and Appeals Committee, alongside senators Tommy Hessel, John Honeycutt and Satisky, all sophomores. Satisky is also a university news editor for The Chronicle.
Correction: Brennan Halkidis was chosen for the Board of Elections committee, not Jake Satisky. The Chronicle regrets the error.