Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) President candidate Ben Cummins has been issued a minor strike by the Electoral Commission due to campaigning by a team member on a private Snapchat story.
The Electoral Commission has sanctioned Cummins by handing down a 30 minute ban on campaigning.
In a statement, the Electoral Commission said: “Presidential Candidate Ben Cummins has been afforded a minor strike, to prevent him from campaigning for 30 minutes during the campaign period, effective immediately.”
“This was afforded due to a member of his campaign team campaigning on a private Snapchat story pursuant to Schedule 3 2.5(a) VII, which states that social media accounts are limited to the ones currently in use by the SU,” the EC said.
“Snapchat is currently not in use by the Union, candidates are not allowed to campaign on unauthorized platforms, and campaigning on Snapchat is prohibited by Schedule 3.”
Speaking to Trinity News, Cummins said that the “efforts of my campaign team to reach out to students and promote the campaign have been immense, and I’m grateful to them in ways I can hardly express”.
“The offence in question came as part of a momentary lapse on the part of one campaign team member in the midst of what has been a whirlwind few days for us – and all others involved in campaigns – these mistakes happen,” Cummins said.
“We encourage everyone who has registered to have patience with the current difficulties being experienced by the voting system – and cast your votes before 4PM tomorrow in this year’s election,” he said.
Cummins has already received a major and a minor strike for separate offences from the commission earlier in the campaign.
He received a major strike after campaign materials that were sent to a lecturer – which was permitted by the EC to replace candidates speaking to class groups in person – were shared with students before the start of the campaign period, which was deemed pre-campaigning.
The first minor strike was due to campaigning and campaign materials uploaded by members of the campaign team to their personal social media pages.
Fellow candidates Leah Keogh, Daniel O’Reilly, Bev Genockey and Peter Caddle have also received strikes during the campaign.
A candidate who receives more than three minor strikes can be struck off the ballot. If a candidate receives two major strikes, a decision is made “at the discretion of the EC” as to whether they will remain on the ballot.
Cummins is one of three candidates running to be TCDSU President alongside Leah Keogh and Luke MacQuillan.
In a poll conducted by Trinity News of 1,005 students during the first week of the campaign, 24.6% of decided voters indicated that they would give their first preference to Cummins.
Voting opened last night and is set to conclude tomorrow afternoon, with the results of each race to be announced in the evening.