ec meeting feb. 19 - lucy peterson

Elections Commission members Kara Kellogg and Hannah Ehmcke review the Student Senate Rules and Regulations during a violation hearing for Crimson+Blue Monday, Feb. 19. 

With only one coalition running this election cycle, the 2019 Student Senate Elections Commission will primarily focus on enforcing Student Senate Rules and Regulations regarding elections and will work on outreach for student involvement.

The commission’s role is to ensure elections run as fairly as possible. The commission also holds hearings when there have been violations by coalitions or individual candidates.

“The biggest thing that I’ll try and make sure of is that the current Student Senate body is not interfering with the current election,” said Chair Kelsey Rolofson.

Because only a single coalition filed to run, instead of holding a debate between candidates, the commission will host an audience-oriented Q&A later this month with the coalition.

Currently, there are four members on the commission.

Kelsey Rolofson, Commission Chair

Rolofson is a sophomore from Wildwood, Missouri studying English and political science. She decided to join the commission because she wanted to get involved in campus government without being in a heavily competitive environment, she said.

“I wanted to get involved in campus government in a capacity that combines both of my areas of interest,” Rolofson said. “I’m very much a mediator so I liked that the decisions I would be making would be unbiased and hopefully beneficial to the organization as a whole instead of just one side of it.”

As chair, Rolofson will be working to run a fair election and make sure that the commission is acting in compliance with the elections code, she said. She will also be communicating with Senate and other organizations as the face of the commission, in order to organize events for the coalition and individual candidates who are running.

Before becoming chair, Rolofson did not have experience within Senate.

“I’m excited to get involved in Student Senate because I haven’t been, and to assume an unbiased role,” Rolofson said.

Hannah Ehmcke, Compliance Chair

Ehmcke is a junior from Sioux City, Iowa studying marketing and business analytics. She decided to join the commission because she wanted a new perspective of Senate.

As compliance chair, Ehmcke’s job is to preside over hearings and address violations that are filed during the election cycle. Most of her job this semester will be to report violations on her own, rather than responding to violations from competing coalitions.

Ehmcke is the current Vice Chair of Finance Committee and has been involved with Senate for two years.

“For the last two years I’ve been on the other side of elections being on a coalition running myself, so I’m really excited to make sure everything goes smoothly and to make this process as easy as possible for anyone,” Ehmcke said.

Sh’Kaiya Hutchens, Candidate Liaison Chair

Hutchens is a freshman from Salina, Kansas. She is majoring in political science and minoring in Spanish with the intent of becoming a lawyer. Hutchens decided to join the commission because she wanted to try something new on campus.

“I decided to join the commission to just simply see what it was about. I didn’t quite know what an elections commission was and figured it would be nice to try something new,” Hutchens said.

Throughout the election, she is in charge of holding informational meetings, hosting requested senatorial debates, and keeping track of registered candidates during the election.

While she is looking forward to conducting a fair election with the candidates, Hutchens is most looking forward to the experience she will get as candidate liaison chair, she said.

“This semester, I’m really just looking forward to the experience,” Hutchens said. “I wanted to know what [Senate] was all about and what my role could be and how I could contribute.”

Kara Kellogg, Elections Commission Secretary:

Kellogg is a junior from Wichita studying finance. She has been on the finance committee for three years, and ran with a coalition her first year at the University.

Kellogg was interested in joining the commission because she took a break from elections during the 2018 cycle, and she missed the environment. She was also looking to play a new role in elections.

“I’ve been on a coalition before and I wanted a new perspective of the election process,” Kellogg said.

As the commission secretary, Kellogg’s role is to take minutes at meetings and hearings, while also keeping record of financial expenses and other documents for coalitions. She is also responsible for “upholding the transparency of the Elections Commission,” according to Student Senate Rules and Regulations.

Kellogg’s priority for this election is to look for ways to increase voter turnout for the election, she said. She will be working with the commission in efforts to increase voter-outreach, especially to students who may not know much about Senate.

“[The commission] plays a big role in facilitating voter-outreach which is one of the things I’m most excited for, finding new ways to get the student body more involved with the election process,” Kellogg said.

The commission will be holding a coalition Q&A on Monday, March 25 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the Union ballroom for students to get to know the presidential and vice presidential candidates. Senate elections will be held on April 10 and 11 this year.