Two candidates in the Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) elections have received minor strikes. The strikes were issued by the Electoral Commission (EC) today.
Presidential candidate László Molnárfi and Ents candidate Sam Kelly both received minor strikes from the EC this afternoon.
According to the EC, Molnárfi was given the strike for his “campaign team posting original content”, while Kelly received the strike for “initiating conversation with individuals for campaign purposes from his campaign account”.
While election rules, as contained in Schedule 3, permit the resharing of campaign material using “built-in reposting functions” such as retweeting or sharing posts to Instagram stories, “reuploading or direct uploading of campaign materials by any member of the Union” is not permitted.
Both candidates will receive a one hour penalty on their campaigning as a result of the strikes.
In a statement to Trinity News about the strike, Molnárfi said: ”We understand that this decision is in line with Schedule 3, however we think that it highlights many of the issues of Schedule 3.”
Molnárfi called Schedule 3 “highly restrictive”, saying that it “actively discourage[s] student engagement in the student union and campaigns”.
“Like all campaign teams, we try to work with our team to follow and understand the rules in schedule 3,” he added.
Molnárfi continued: “In its current form very few students have the time to pick out, memorise, and read all of the rules regarding campaigning – especially students who are disengaged with the SU.”
“In particular our campaign is frustrated by the restrictions surrounding original content and society and activist group endorsements as they discourage debate. I believe that grassroots organisations, especially advocacy groups, should be able to express their opinions on the manifestos of different candidates.”
He concluded saying they will “continue to strive to follow the rules of schedule 3” for the remainder of the election period.
Kelly told Trinity News that the sanctioned behaviour was a mistake, with his team “accidentally using the campaign account” to canvass in direct messages.
On Monday evening, presidential candidate Tilly Schaaf received a minor strike for campaigning outside of designated campaign hours.
If a candidate receives three minor strikes during the election period, they are struck off the ballot. If a candidate receives two major strikes, it is at the discretion of the EC whether or not they remain on the ballot.
Campaigning for sabbatical officer elections will continue until March 2. Voting will take place from Tuesday, February 28 to Thursday, March 2. Election results will be announced that evening.