Two candidates in the Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) sabbatical officer elections have been sanctioned by the Electoral Commission (EC) today.
Communications and Marketing candidate Niall Harty was issued a minor strike for a breach of Schedule 3, as his Facebook page was deemed to be live before campaigning. This is against election rules as campaigning has not officially begun.
Harty told Trinity News: “While the Facebook algorithm prompted users to like the page, no effort was made by the campaign team to initiate support from individuals and no posts were made. This does not seem to constitute pre-campaigning.”
“This was considered ‘having the pages live’ however we feel this is a very broad definition of the term as there was no live activity”. As a penalty, Harty’s online presence cannot be active between 9am and 9pm tomorrow, Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Presidential candidate Sean Ryan was not issued a strike “after a discussion it was determined that there was a breach of Schedule 3”. Ryan’s penalty will be the confiscation of seven campaign t-shirts on Tuesday, as well as a shut down of his online campaign presence between 12pm and 3pm tomorrow. Speaking to Trinity News, Ryan said: “A volunteer accidentally shared a doodle into a small group last week, when they realised the mistake they deleted the post as quickly as they could. I’ve since met with the EC and we’ve come to a satisfactory conclusion for all involved.”
Schedule 3 of TCDSU’s Constitution outlines election regulations and dates. Breaches of EC rules usually result in a strike against a candidate, with the candidate removed from the ballot after their third minor rule break, or second major rule break.
The twelve candidates across the six races will take to the Dining Hall steps this afternoon for the first hustings of the campaign period, with the “poster run” and launch of the campaigns’ social media pages taking place afterwards.