Schaaf presidential campaign issued major strike 

Schaaf was sanctioned for canvassing through DMs from her campaign account

Presidential candidate Tilly Schaaf was issued a major strike by the Electoral Commission (EC) yesterday afternoon.

Schaaf was prohibited from campaigning until 2pm today due to the offence, two hours before campaigning in elections ended entirely.

According to the EC, Schaaf was sanctioned for initiating direct conversations on social media through her campaign account, in breach of election rules.

On Sunday, Ents candidate Sam Kelly was also sanctioned for initiating conversations through his campaign account, but received only a minor strike. The EC said that Schaaf was issued a major strike for initiating 68 conversations through social media, while Kelly had initiated just one.

Speaking to Trinity News after receiving the strike, Schaaf expressed her disappointment, saying that “at this point I thought I knew Schedule 3 more than well enough”.
She continued: “Since it’s about the campaign in the moment it seemed logical it was to be from the campaign Instagram. I was simply unaware, and it was entirely my fault for not rereading Schedule [3] in the last few days. The only thing I can say for myself is here: I am in a third year stem course that has 15+ hours of lectures, full day labs, and I do extra reports since I was away last semester.”
Schaaf highlighted the additional challenges of a social media page which urged students not to vote for her: “I dealt with online harrassment, that I am confident none of the other candidates had something to do with, it’s vile random and vicious. Only my campaign had to deal with this, start [the] procedure of answering texts about it, the Gardaí, the management. It is very personal, and therefore very draining.”
“Lastly, the rules I broke in the two strikes were ones that weren’t obvious at all to my campaign team and me, with the raised intensity of the last day, we assumed, as soon as we realized it was from private Instagram that you message people, we took it down immediately.”

The strike is the second received by Schaaf during the campaign period. She was issued a minor strike on the first day of campaigning for posts made on social media outside of 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.

Voting in sabbatical elections closed at 4pm this afternoon, with results due to be announced this evening.

A poll conducted by Trinity News last week indicated a likely win for László Molnárfi in the presidential race, though showed Schaaf keeping pace with incumbent Education Officer Zöe Cummins, who is also a candidate in the race.

This article was updated on March 3 to include comment from Schaaf.

David Wolfe

David Wolfe is a Junior Sophister student of History and Political Science. He is the current Social Media and Managing Editor of Trinity News, having previously served as News Editor, Assistant News Editor and copyeditor.