The upcoming Missouri Students Association presidential election will be different from last year.
The changes, which are currently under Senate consideration, feature a shortened campaigning period and two fewer debates.
The most contentious of the changes is the campaigning period, now shortened from seven weeks to three, Board of Elections Commissioners Chairman David Wettroth said. Wettroth said the omission of four weeks will allow candidates to have a greater focus on education during the campaign.
“They’re here for school; they’re not here to run for president,” Wettroth said.
A shorter campaign season makes the period simpler as well, Wettroth said. Slates made up of a presidential and vice-presidential candidate may begin campaigning Oct. 21 and do so until the election begins Nov. 11. Last year’s slates began campaigning Sept. 17.
The way slates campaign will also change. Soft campaigning, which would last until Oct. 28, limits slates to a social media presence and other indirect contact. Hard campaigning begins immediately after and allows personal contact.
Last year, the slates participated in three debates, each hosted by different organizations. The number will be cut down to a single debate hosted by the board and MSA, Wettroth said. Previously, The Residence Halls Association hosted a first debate, and Four Front and The Maneater hosted a third debate.
Debates other than those hosted by the board and MSA remain optional, Wettroth said.
Amendments to the board handbook changes were proposed last Tuesday at the MSA Operations Committee meeting. MSA Sen. Taylor Major, sophomore, announced the proposed amendments would adjust some of the original changes Wettroth made.
Wettroth had planned to increase the number of undergraduate signatures to run from 500 to 1,000 and decrease the number of polling locations from five to three.
Major proposed having the number of signatures remain at 500, return the number of polling locations to five and return the campaigning period to seven weeks.
There was concern in the committee that having only three weeks to campaign would not allow slates to reach an optimal amount of students.
Because of the large number of organizations and students on campus, it seems the board is making things harder as opposed to better, Major said.
Wettroth accepted friendly amendments to keep the polling locations at five and reached an agreement of 750 signatures. Keeping the campaign period at seven weeks will not be addressed again until the second reading of the board handbook’s proposed changes, Wettroth said.
Other changes to the handbook include switching to a 5 p.m. election start time, as opposed to 6 p.m., and reducing the amount of paperwork for slates from 10 pieces to six.