The House of Student Representatives passed a bill Tuesday to standardize candidate election signs, by a vote of 22-4 with 10 abstentions. Perry Cunningham, Neeley School of Business representative and author of the bill, said increasing the standard size of signs from 187 square inches to 520 square inches will allow candidates to showcase more platform information to voters.
Cunningham said the 187-square-inch signs allowed in student body campaigning were a little larger than a legal sheet of paper, while the standard size for all student organizations were much larger.
“We’re trying to emphasize platform issues and what it means when voting for a candidate,” said Cunningham, a sophomore business major.
Mark Tschirhart, a fourth year representative, disagreed. He said he didn’t think the community should be focusing on how big signs are, but rather what qualities the candidates have to offer.
“It is not the Student Government Association’s place to support people who have more money, but rather to support voter participation,” said Tschirhart, senior math major.
Cunningham said he thought increasing sign size would support voter participation through better awareness of individual candidates.
“I proposed this bill because we’re really concerned about the awareness of students on candidates themselves and also increasing voter turnout,” Cunningham said. “Signs aren’t required to be this size, but the bill is designed to help.”
Tschirhart said he thought using bigger signs would only be more costly for the candidates and would not affect voter turnout.
Student Body President Jace Thompson said he thought the change was good.
“Having talked to other SGA leaders, they have a lot of campaign expenditures,” Thompson said. “This expenditure will help keep voters informed.”
Thompson said last year his signs might have exceeded the maximum amount.
The bill will become effective immediately, followed by an amendment to the Student Body Code.
Other topics discussed included a resolution to open the visitors lot to students after 5 p.m. and requests for the new dining hall’s name.