RO’s broad interpretation of new student election rules will restrict ticket based social media campaigning

Words by Felix Eldridge

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Above are the screenshots obtained by On Dit regarding the updated rules

The AUU recently amended their election rules for the upcoming student elections. The AUU Returning Officer has interpreted the rules very broadly to limit the capacity of ‘ticket’ based social media pages to campaign for the upcoming student elections in week 11. According to an email from the RO, this rule change was brought in to “facilitate a shift to online elections as required by the COVID pandemic.”

The affect of this interpretation of the rule change is to prohibit the ‘publishing’ of social media, mainly directed at Facebook, pages with ‘ticket names’. For instance, the Facebook pages of the Unite, Progress, Left Action, Connect ‘tickets’, among any others, will be required to be ‘unpublished’ before the close of nominations (2nd October at 4pm). Furthermore, comments, posts, tweets, WeChat messages and other such communications will be prohibited from these pages and accounts.

As per the email, the justification for this broad interpretation was to limit material being distributed to candidates “not personally known to the sender”, presumably to reduce spam messaging during elections. However it is also likely to have the effect of limiting the capacity of more organised and active groups on campus from running coordinated social media campaigning. It is yet to be seen how this will affect the election results.

Editor’s note: The article was amended to reflect new information regarding the AUU Board’s decision and the subsequent interpretation of the AUU Returning Officer.

Felix ran as a ‘Unite’ candidate in the 2019 student elections.

Written by

Adelaide University student magazine since 1932. Edited by Nicholas Birchall, Felix Eldridge, Taylor Fernandez and Larisa Forgac. Email us at onditmag@gmail.com

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