Presidential candidates intensify campaigning

By Gus Bode

Today is the last day to vote in USG election

With only one day of voting left in the Undergraduate Student Government presidential election, the candidates are intensifying their campaigning efforts, but the University policy that bans chalk messages and restricts where fliers can be posted has forced them to use some unconventional communication methods.

In late February, the University announced it was going to start enforcing the long-standing ban on posting fliers or advertising with chalk on sidewalks or unapproved campus surfaces.

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Joe Moore, a senator who is running as part of presidential hopeful TyJuan Cratic’s Liberty Party, has handled most of the campaigning for the group. He said restricting the fliers to only University-mandated areas has been a huge thorn in his side.

“The kiosks are so full of stuff,” Moore said. “For your poster to get any viewing time is really rare.”

Moore said not being able to write on the ground with chalk or place fliers in high-traffic areas has hurt Cratic and Burrows more than Brown because they are targeting different groups. Brown is campaigning to Registered Student Organizations while Burrows and Cratic are fighting for votes from students in the dorms and in high-traffic areas.

“The people who have the groups, they can just go speak in front of a fraternity,” Moore said. “If we could just put a poster in front of Mae Smith, that would be really handy.”

John Teresi, who is presidential candidate Nate Brown’s running mate, said the rule restricting fliers and chalk writing have prevented them from campaigning the way they would have liked. Teresi said passing out fliers too early is a bad idea because they risk overexposure, but it would have been nice to be able to put up posters at places such as the overpass.

Michael Burrows said he has based his campaign on talking to the students face to face and will continue to do so until voting ends at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

“In order to win this, basically I’m going to need to stay in peoples’ faces and get everyone out to vote because my target is the whole student body,” Burrows said.

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Before voting started Tuesday, Burrows said he had passed out well over 1,000 flyers and introduced himself to everyone he possibly could. Since the beginning of the election, Burrows has said personal interaction with the students would be a large part of the way he did his job as president so he wants it to be a large part of the way he campaigns.

In lieu of campaign restrictions, some candidates have utilized social networking Web sites for more than just a way to pass time. Both Brown and Cratic said they have set up campaign groups on thefacebook.com.

Thefacebook is an online directory designed for college students to meet people through friends. Anyone with a college e-mail address can access it. There are 3,363 SIUC students registered.

Cratic and Brown have both started Thefacebook campaign groups. Cratic’s group has more than 30 members, and Brown has more than 90. Teresi said they have used the Web site to announce campaign meetings, request help and meet people who share their political views.

Burrows is not on Thefacebook, but election commissioner Tyler Myers said he believes it is better to use more traditional methods.

“The best way to campaign, I think, is the old-school way,” Myers said. “Just fliers, posters and T-shirts are the best way to do it.”

Burrows said he has his plan set.

“I need to get out among the people,” Burrows said. “I’ve been pumping out fliers as fast as I can.”

Reporter Zack Quaintance can be reached at [email protected]

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