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The Dartmouth
April 15, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

First-year Senate races begin

Members of the Class of 2027 will be able to vote from 5:00 p.m. on Oct. 16 to 5:00 p.m. on Oct. 18.

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First-year students will soon participate in their first elections on campus, with voting for the Class of 2027 House Senators set to begin in a week.

According to an email sent out by Dartmouth Student Government, the Elections Planning and Advisory Committee required prospective candidates to fill out an “Intent to Run” form by Oct. 7 and attend a mandatory virtual information session on Oct. 8. The email also noted that candidates will be allowed to start campaigning on Oct. 10, while the official voting period for freshmen will start at 5:00 p.m. on Oct. 16 and end at 5:00 p.m. on Oct. 18.

EPAC member Megan Goyal ’26 said the House Senator position “is a wonderful opportunity to not only get introduced to Dartmouth leadership, but also just to Dartmouth in general.” 

Goyal described the committee’s role as “essentially facilitating and overseeing all student elections that happen on campus.” She noted that EPAC operates “separately from the student government” to ensure that there are “no conflicts of interest,” but added that EPAC frequently collaborates with DSG.

“We’re a separate entity from them, but we also will work closely with the president and everyone just to see what their needs are,” she said.

According to Goyal, EPAC’s role in the campaign process consists of facilitating a fair campaign process, a position which includes examining candidates’ social media accounts and flyers to ensure that campaign materials adhere to regulations. Goyal noted that EPAC has a stringent policy on violations and responds quickly to reports of infractions. 

EPAC also oversees campaign finance policy and monitors candidates’ expenditures. According to Goyal, candidates are required to complete campaign expenditure sheets, stating that “it gives every candidate equal opportunity to use money in their campaign process.” Candidates for House Senator will have any campaign expenses up to $75 reimbursed by EPAC but are strictly forbidden from exceeding that limit.

“Anyone, another candidate or any person in the student body, has the power to email EPAC within 24 hours of a violation occurring,” Goyal said. “And we’ll immediately take it up with the candidate that is being accused of a campaign violation. And we have a very meticulous process of how we will address that.”

Goyal added that EPAC “will be recruiting for new members after this election cycle is over.” 

After the newly-elected freshman House Senators are onboarded, they will take on the same responsibilities and roles as any other senator, according to Student Body Vice President Kiara Ortiz ’24. Ortiz noted that the new Senators will begin taking part in committee meetings, where they will be able to “start sharing their input and start advocating for certain projects.”

Student Body President Jessica Chiriboga ’24 noted the diversity of candidate campaign strategies, adding that while some candidates pursue “a more digital strategy,” focusing on employing “social media to communicate to students about their platform ideas,” other candidates “like to campaign in-person.”

“That can include things like putting up flyers or putting up chalk in certain areas, or organizing a party for people in their house community,” Chiriboga said.

Chiriboga added that simply “talking to friends” can be effective in Senator elections, as 

“it’s only your house community and your class year that votes for you.” Chiriboga said these stipulations create a uniquely personal dimension to senatorial elections. 

“It gives you the opportunity to talk directly with your classmates and the residents in your normal voice, and to talk about the issues that matter to them and tell them how you’d like to contribute to the College,” she said.

Ortiz also stressed the importance of interpersonal relationships while campaigning, adding that it can be critical to use the election period “as a mechanism to get to know your peers, because you’re working to represent them.” 

“I think a community of care and importance for others would be great to be established during this period.”

Ortiz said that her advice to candidates for senator would be “to do your best to stay genuine and realistic in your campaign promises.” Ortiz explained that first-years are “still getting integrated into Dartmouth life,” and that they should therefore be “realistic” about both issues that they have identified and potential “projects” that they believe “would benefit the student community.” 

Goyal said candidates who missed the Oct. 7 deadline to fill out an intent to run form can still run a write-in campaign, which she said “does not put them at a disadvantage.” She added that election results will be released to the student body in a Listserv email.