Finance report reveals Senate coalitions’ campaign methods
- Apr. 10, 2012
- 1 Comment
With election season in full swing on campus, expense reports have found that there are different costs associated with each coalition’s campaigning method. KUnited has enlisted the help of the Lawrence community, spending $6,176.85 on its campaign; Senatus Populusque Ramenus, which has spent $15, opted to campaign primarily on campus.
Student Senate candidates Senatus Populusque Ramenus, or SPQR, and KUnited released their expense reports Monday night to the elections commission, whose responsibility is to ensure fair elections and campaigns. It requires candidates to turn in pre-expense and final-expense reports to monitor how the candidates are spending money.
“We weren’t looking to fundraise or go out to businesses to try and gain their support and money,” said Brian Sultana, SPQR’s campaign manager. “We aren’t interested in buying votes or elections. We want to expose the idea of buying votes and elections and stay away from it as much as possible.”
To attract supporters, SPQR purchased chalk and organized performances on Wescoe Beach, such as poetry readings and rap performances. Its intent is to draw people in rather than pulling them aside to get their votes.
Part of KUnited’s advertising campaign included a competition to attract an apartment complex sponsorship, which The Grove won. The winner was chosen based on what facilities and services it had to offer students. After winning the contest, The Grove bought $2,500 worth of KUnited shirts, which was the coalition’s largest donation, boxed them up and distributed them to students.
“Some students look at that dollar amount and think that we are buying votes or buying our positions,” said KUnited vice presidential candidate Brandon Woodard. “We watch our expenses and make sure they are as low as possible. You cannot buy votes.”
KUnited also partnered with Lawrence businesses to engage students in the election. One of the largest purchases were the buttons, which cost $779. Students can wear them and receive discounts at restaurants around town, including Bird Dog at the Oread, Jayhawk Cafe, Mirth Cafe and Fuzzy’s Taco Shop.
KUnited, which has won 17 of the last 18 elections, started its campaign during the fall semester. Members visited Greek houses, campus organizations and scholarship halls to recruit members and receive feedback from students. But despite the recruitment, student involvement is lacking.
“I wish there were more candidates involved in the process this year,” said Keith Adams, chairman of the elections commission. “The more people involved in the election process, the more say the students have and the better the elections are.”
Election booths will be on Wescoe Beach Wednesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will also be a booth at Mrs. E’s from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday. A student ID is required to vote. To vote online, look for the Student Senate elections link on ku.edu. Results will be announced after 5 p.m. Thursday.
Edited by Taylor Lewis