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The Daily Tar Heel

Another chance: Under new leadership, BOE must work hard to avoid blunders of last year, provide sound oversight

As the student body election cycle unofficially begins, the Board of Elections would be prudent to learn from last year’s mistakes.

The board is tasked with ensuring all candidates follow the student election laws in the Student Code.

 Student Congress made a wise choice in approving Peter Gillooly to lead this year’s board. Gillooly has served on the Board of Elections before and will be able to offer his experience this year.

Gillooly has also indicated that he plans to run the board very differently from last year. Let’s hope so.

Last year’s board, led by Ryan Morgan, made a series of gaffes and blunders that weakened the integrity of our election process and the board.

This year’s board can certainly learn a few things from last year.

Gillooly’s board must not arbitrarily and abruptly make decisions with the potential to derail a candidate’s election strategy.

For example, last year’s board announced a few days before public campaigning began that dorm storming for signatures would be illegal.

The campaigns scrambled to gather signatures in other ways, but it was an undue burden on the candidates.

And although the Student Supreme Court ruled that the board has the power to interpret the Student Code, it should avoid the temptation to unilaterally do so. The document is already painstakingly detailed — especially when it comes to election law.

The board also must make openness a top priority. Without utmost transparency, we cannot be sure that the board’s actions and decisions are in line with the Student Code.

All candidates must be given equal opportunity in their respective races. Without a transparent election process, we cannot be sure that the best candidate for the job is chosen.

Finally, the board must work with people who have a thorough knowledge of the Student Code and public records law when they make administrative decisions. The Student Code is a complicated document but should be followed to the letter.

Last year’s board made the election season a misadventure in ballot box ethics. This year’s board, under the guidance of Peter Gillooly, should take note and keep our elections fair.

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