Election  Headquarters

Independent Election

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Frequently Asked Questions

We are currently integrating both the SA website and the Elections website with the UWM website.

I want to get involved! How do I start?

Once nominations open on September 18th, you can pick up a Candidate Information Packet at any of the following locations:

→Student Association Office (Union EG79)

→Student Association Professional Staff Office (Union WG10)

Digital copies of all of the packet materials can also be found under the Forms section of this website.

Ok, I have my packet. Now what do I do?

In your packet, there is a Candidate Checklist that tells you all of the steps you need to take, as well as a timeline of important dates. Depending upon the position you are running for, you will need a specific number of signatures from currently enrolled, degree-seeking students. You will turn these signature sheets into the SAPS office (Union WG10) for validation and participate in mandatory Campaign Training (held between February 26th and March 2nd) before you can begin campaigning. More detailed information is provided on the Candidate Checklist.


When are nominations open?

Nominations are open January 29th at 12:00am, and will remain open until 4:30pm on February 23rd. To complete your nomination, simply follow the steps on the Candidate Checklist. You can get all the forms you need from a Candidate Election Packet – available from the SA Office, or by visiting the Forms section of our website.


Am I eligible to run?

Candidates for all positions must be at least half-time, degree-seeking students, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5, and be in good standing with the university. If you’re currently on probation through the academic or non-academic misconduct processes, you won’t be able to run.


So the “party” system was removed from the elections. Can I still campaign with my friend?

You can still campaign for your friends, but you cannot have shared marketing materials.  Please also note that anyone campaigning on your behalf must also adhere to the Campaign Rules including not campaigning outside of the campaign period.  The main goals of this change are to (a) simplify the candidacy/campaigning process for students; (b) to encourage an environment in which a wider range of identities and perspectives may exist; (c) to address potential disparities between parties and independent candidates, which can lead to unfair advantages (and, in turn, unfair elections); and (d) to offer every student a better opportunity to run for office, regardless of prior involvement or interpersonal connections.


What positions are available?

Check out our “What Can I Run For?” page for a brief description of each position. The page is currently updated for the Freshman elections, however, full position descriptions for Spring Elections are available in the Student Association governing documents (available at uwmsa.uwm.edu), or you can consult the Constitution for more information. We are open to answering any specific questions about what each position’s duties will look like.

How were the advocacy seats chosen? Who can run for them?

The Advocacy Seats were chosen based on feedback given by students during outreach sessions during the Fall 2013 semester, as well as historical trends of groups that have unique experiences and needs at UWM. Any student that meets the basic eligibility requirements can run for any Advocacy Seat. Unlike the Academic Senators, the Advocacy Senators do not need to belong to a specific school, college, or group. The main hope is that students who run for these seats are passionate about advocating on behalf of the particular identity group they represent and work closely with other offices on campus to ensure a positive experience for these students.

I want to run for President of the Student Association. Do I need to have previous experience with SA?

No. Some previous versions of the IEC bylaws required presidential candidates to have held an elected position on the SA for at least 6 months; however, that provision was removed from the new bylaws in order to make involvement in the SA more accessible to all students.. The intent of this change was to open up SA's doors, so to speak, so that the elected and appointed officials have an opportunity to better represent the student body as a whole. There is no previous experience requirement for any position.

Who is required to participate in the debates?

Candidates running for positions within the Executive branch (President, Vice President for Student Affairs, Vice President for Academic Affairs) must participate in no less than three campaign events during the campaign period, organized and hosted by IEC. Excused absences for these events will be determined by the IEC on a case-by-case basis.

Can I run for more than one position?

Unfortunately, no. You can run for one of the three leadership positions (President, Vice President of Student Affairs, and Vice President of Academic Affairs), or for one of the three categories of Senators (Academic Senators, At-Large Senators, and Advocacy Senators). If you fail to win a seat, you can apply to hold any vacant seats subject to a 2/3-majority vote of the Senate, or you can apply for one of the available Executive Committee positions, the application processes for which will take place in the weeks following the elections.

When will voting take place?

For a full timeline of events, please visit our Events page. Active campaigning is not allowed until the first day of the Campaign period, and must end on the final day of the Campaign period.

Why is there a designated Campaign period?

Common complaints from previous elections have surrounded the use of “electioneering” tactics, where candidates would approach students with electronic devices asking them to vote for them. In our eyes, this is no different than following someone into a voting booth while asking them to vote for you, so we implemented this rule to make sure your vote is protected and anonymous.

Why should I run?

  •   Leadership Development
    • Serving on the SA is excellent leadership experience.  You'll learn new skills in communication, negotiation, and planning that will stay with you throughout your career.
  •   Boost Your Resume
    • Whether you're looking to gain experience working on important policy issues, planning events, or coordinating a social media campaign, you'll be able to craft opportunities for yourself through the SA.
  •   Improve Student Life
    • The SA strives to make sure that every decision made by the university reflects the best interests of students.  Through the SA, you'll be apart of a decision-making process that directly impacts the quality of our students' experience.
  •   Something for Everyone
    • Whether you are looking for a position to pour your heart and soul into or are curious and want to give a couple of hours a month to a cause, we have positions to fit all schedules.
  •   The People
    • The SA is a diverse organization made up of students from many different backgrounds who have one thing in common- they all want to make a real difference in the lives of students at UWM.

Why should I vote?

Why? I can give you 10 reasons:

  1. Money - The SA allocates up to $23m in student fees every year. These elected individuals will play an important role in deciding where your money goes and what services you benefit from.
  2. Bucket List - You’ll check off item 9 from the UWM Bucket List!
  3. Advocacy - Elected SA officials meet regularly with UWM faculty and staff to make sure any decision made is in the best interests of students.
  4. Citizenship - An actively engaged student body is a strong one, don’t give up your right to have a say in your college experience!
  5. Transparency - The SA is run for students, by students, and the more people who vote, the more students are having a say in how the organization is run.
  6. Panther Pride - The mission of the SA is to enrich the student experience on campus. Express your Panther Pride by showing that you care!
  7. Accountability - Elected officers work for you, and work to enrich your experience. Take advantage of the opportunity to say who you think would best represent you.
  8. Democracy - Democracy, as history proves and we see daily, is a difficult and demanding form of government.  Governing ourselves is hard, and democracy requires sharing arguments and ideas to arrive at the best policies. Honor that tradition by voting!
  9. Autonomy - Students have the right to organize for themselves, so make the most of it by casting your ballot.
  10. Awareness - By voting, you’ll be joining a collection of students who are active participants in shared governance and who care about the policies and processes that help shape their experience.