BYU students, faculty discuss behind-the-scenes look into BYUSA election process

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Cragun Liston
A BYU student explores the voting page for the BYUSA 2018-2019 elections. Applications for the 2023-2024 elections are open now and close in November. (Photo Courtesy of Cragun Liston)

Applications for BYUSA elections are open now until Nov. 7, and BYUSA leadership is encouraging students to learn more about the election process and make their voices heard.

According to the BYUSA Elections Handbook, candidates for presidency must meet certain eligibility requirements, complete an application and participate in campaigning.

The handbook states the purpose of the elections is “to start and promote productive conversation and positive interactions between future student leaders and students on campus.”

Fritz-Carl Morlant, who has volunteered with BYUSA over the past year, said he has seen those positive interactions in his time in the program. He said he got involved with clubs because they foster an inclusive and welcoming environment on campus.

Listed here are some of the eligibility requirements for BYUSA candidacy. Applications for the 2023-2024 elections are open now and close in November. (Made in Canva by Ariel Harmer)

“BYUSA empowers students to create meaningful connections and serve their fellow students as they navigate through their college experience,” he said.

Meeting requirements

Before submitting an application, all presidential and vice presidential candidates must meet eligibility requirements. BYUSA Student Advisory Council Research Director Savanna Shiman said she has seen those requirements change slightly during her three years in the program.

“In the past, you had to have been in BYUSA for two semesters in some capacity,” she said of applying for election. “Now, you can have two semesters of BYUSA or one semester of BYUSA and one semester of an equivalent leadership experience on campus.”

Shiman said prospective candidates also need to attend at least one election interest meeting in order to be eligible to apply, but apart from that, the most important application requirements are good honor code and academic standing.

Application

The application is not a solo process. According to Shiman, candidates run in pairs as president and vice president and fill out one application together, although the two have slightly different responsibilities.

“When you submit your application, you submit a brief idea of your student connection leadership center plan,” Shiman said of prospective presidential candidates. “The detailed plan comes into play later in the elections process.”

The BYUSA Elections Handbook said this plan outlines how the president will fulfill their responsibilities, improve the BYUSA volunteer experience and progress each of the five areas of BYUSA: activities, clubs, connections, council and honor.

The prospective vice president must also draft a general proposal, but for the BYUSA Marketing Plan, which details plans for “improving the overall quality and reach of BYUSA marketing” and “assessing the impact of BYUSA marketing,” according to the BYUSA Elections Handbook.

After agreeing to the expected terms of office and leadership responsibilities, the application is ready to submit.

This campaign poster shows Ethan Baker, the 2022-23 BYUSA president. His campaign slogan last year was “Better Together.” (Kelsey Mae Nield)

Waiting and campaigning

Applications are open from Oct. 3–Nov. 7, according to
Student Connection and Leadership Center Elections Coordinator Miko Gardiner.

“Following applications, potential candidates attend various trainings from November through January. At the end of these trainings, if they are still are committed to run, they are publicly announced on February 7 as candidates,” she said.

The candidates are announced via BYUSA’s social media accounts. Campaigning lasts until March, when elections are held and the winners are announced.

Student involvement

Volunteers and leaders at BYUSA urge students not in the program to start getting involved, especially during the campaigns.

Gardiner said elections are more meaningful and fun when students get involved. “Consider running, volunteering, or even just voting,” she said. “If students are looking to have their voices heard, carefully looking through candidates agendas and casting their vote is a great way to do it.”

Students who wish to volunteer for BYUSA can reach out to the office online or visit their office in 3400 WSC.

Morland said he thinks it is important for students to know about elections. “It allows them to make an impact and serve others,” he said. “By choosing to vote in the elections, they make their voices heard.”

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