For the second time in Ohio State Undergraduate Student Government history, there is one president and vice president duo is running unopposed. The last time there was only one ticket on the ballot was in 2013.
USG announced the 2016 election ballot early Tuesday morning. Currently on the ballot, Gerard Basalla is running for president and Danielle Di Scala for vice president. Basalla is the current deputy chief of staff and a third-year in strategic communications and political science. Di Scala is a third-year in political science and the current senior counselor to the vice president.
In light of the fact that the pair is running unopposed, current president, Abby Grossman, a fourth-year in math education, said she remains optimistic about the election process.
“Regardless of whether an election is contested or not, I hope that all students put great thought into who they are voting for and why they are voting for them, as well as use the election season to talk with candidates and make sure that they are providing these candidates with feedback for the future of USG and what USG should be focusing on during the upcoming year,” Grossman said.
In order to get on the ballot as president and vice president, a petition must be turned into the USG Judicial Panel with 750 signatures for the panel to validate and approve. Once the petition is approved, the names are added to the ballot.
According to USG election bylaws, although the duo are official candidates, they cannot begin campaigning until Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. After that time, candidates are free to campaign but must comply with the USG campaign bylaws.
The campaign process will run through voting dates, which occur March 7 to 9.
Current USG Vice President Abby Waidelich said she is looking forward to the election.
“I’m excited to see candidates come up again this year,” said Waidelich, a fourth-year in biological engineering. “Elections are a large part of our organization because they overturn our administration from year to year. It’s really the chance for students to give their direct input to who their student leaders are.”
There is also the opportunity for candidates to run for president and vice president as a “write-in,” where their names will not appear on the ballot but can be written in by voters. Write-ins must comply with the same bylaws as candidates on the ballot.
Last year, there were a total of 2,007 votes cast for write-in candidates, according to the 2015 USG election results.
“The opportunity for a write-in is there for a reason, and I support the opportunity for a write-in candidate in any election,” Grossman said.
Grossman stressed that taking on a leadership role can be intense and encourages candidates to prepare for that.
“The role of the president and vice president of USG is extremely rigorous and time consuming and takes a lot of passion for what you’re doing,” she said. “So I hope any candidate, regardless if they are a write-in or not, has done the research for what the position entails.”
Also on the ballot, are senator position candidates, broken down by constituency. Constituencies include different colleges, majors and living areas on campus. Those running on the ballot for senator seats run independently from the president and vice president and need to submit a petition with 50 validated signatures.