In response to the debate over online campaigning, Marist student and former SGA elections commissioner Dan Torres sent me this statement:
“I feel that online campaigning should be used in our elections because it can be a great equalizer in campaigning. You may not be able buy shirts, pencils, and other items to get your name out there but you can easily set up a Facebook page.
There is a thought process out there that using online campaigning will remove the personal touch of a door to door campaign. There is no evidence that suggests this. From working on elections I am willing to bet that if a candidate only used Facebook they will lose! Online campaigning is simply a way to further push whatever campaign message you have and implementing it in our elections will boost turnout.
As it stands now you can be thrown out of a race by using Facebook or Twitter. I have to imagine someday some future SGA will view that and it will sound almost as ludicrous as when radio stations banned rock music. I think the election process has greatly improved in the last year however this one rule still baffles me.”
Recall that Torres, as election commissioner, was involved in the controversy over the 2011 student body presidential election. He has had some strong comments about student government rules in the past including that the SGA constitution’s wording is “notoriously poor,” according to one Circle article.
I’m in the process of reaching out to members of the other side of this debate for a response.