ASUCD Elections Reform

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OLD SCHOOL CONTENT
This page has ASUCD Elections stuff from 2004/2005 on it, so don't sweat.
Most of this stuff passed, due to countless hours by IAC and OrwellSoc.
Because 2004 is 20 years too late.

General Contact: Chad van Schoelandt (if other people are working on more specific parts, put your name as contact next to that part)

Chad for IAC Chair! -RobertBaron

Current Planned Addition

The following is from an IAC bill currently being drafted, so give input if you have any.

SECTION 115.

(2a) In the event of pending appeals of Senate candidate disqualification, the Elections Committee will follow the following steps:

Step 1: Run the voting data through every possible resulting scenario, pending the ongoing appeal process.

Step 2: Allow any candidates who win seats in all aforementioned scenarios to take their seats and receive their Certificates of Election.

Step 3: Using the results in which all disqualifications are upheld, give all winning candidates who were not given Certificates of Election in step two a Temporary Certificate of Election and allow them to take office and perform all senatorial duties.

Step 4: At the point that a disqualification is overturned, the scenario including that candidate in the election will become valid. Any candidates who previously received Temporary Certificates of Election and took office but are no longer a winning candidate under the newly validated scenario will have their certificates revoked and all senatorial duties lifted. Those candidates who under the newly validated scenario have won senatorial seats will be issued Certificates of Election unless there are potentially effecting outstanding appeals. In this case, this procedure will be performed again, starting from step 1.

Step 5: If an disqualification is upheld, those senators who were issued Temporary Certificates of Election and who under no other remaining scenario could be removed from office, shall be issued a Certificate of Election.

Alright kids its time for the next generation of election reform.

  1. Current Planned Addition
  2. Theory
  3. Specific Ideas
  4. Elections Reform 2: The Orwellians Strike Back
    1. Section 112.
    2. Section 110.
    3. Section 114
    4. Section 115.
  5. Actual Legislation
  6. More Ideas

Theory

What proved to be completely lacking this time was any understanding of electoral legal theory on the part of the Elections Committee. Specifically they seem to see candidacy as a privilege they graciously extent to candidates rather than as a right they should steward with the greatest respect for the candidates. This basic statement is so important and lacking in the Committee it might be worth putting in the elections codes. It should at least be written on their "how to put on an election" binder.

As such, revocation of eligibility isn't a casual endeavor to be invoked over trivialities but a grave punishment more similar to being fired or found guilty of a crime. The California Electoral Code, which does apply to ASUCD as a public AND state body, notes that all elections regulations should be interpreted liberally to the advantage of the candidates. The procedure must ensure due process, with the accused being able to hear the arguments against him(/her) a make his(/her) rebuttals.

This process duly followed, a candidate may be removed from the ballot before voting begins (I'd say not less than 24 hours before the voting begins). During voting it is of primary importance that nothing about the election changes while voting is ongoing, thus skewing the results (in "the real world" this would cause an election to be declared completely invalid). Investigation may continue on complaints, but the Elections Committee should make no announcements or speculations about any candidates. After voting has concluded, a candidate may not be disqualified (that refers to being on the ballot), but may be declared ineligible for office (specifically, declared to have not followed the elections regulations, which is listed as a regulation to take office)

Discretion - In this past election the committee exercised "discretion" granted it by the codes to make a decision, without explaining their rationale. It should be made clear to the committee that "discretion" is not an invitation to make whatever ruling the feel like without explanation, it is a grant of authority to define for themselves what basis they used to judge the situation. Discretion should always be thoroughly and convincingly explained.

Specific Ideas

Elections Reform 2: The Orwellians Strike Back

Authored by: who wants primary responsibility?
Co-authored by: Bloom, Laabs, Leathers, Van Schoelandt
Introduced by: ??

Chapter 1. Election Regulations.

Section 112.

(6) A. iii. (d.) Website: All participants of the Voluntary Spending Agreement will be given an opportunity to have a photograph of themselves featured on the ASUCD Elections Website.
renumber thereafter

Eliminate this section and have the Senate pass a bill/resolution affirming that they support not using pictures of candidates on the ASUCD Elections website in the future. There are arguments for keeping the pictures online, mainly that people will recognize candidates that they meet/see based more on their picture than their name. I don't feel too strongly about this one way or another. - Jonathon Leathers

(8) B. If the Election Committee finds that any candidate or ticket have falsified their expenditure form(s) they may be assessed up to three (3) violation points therefore; may be disqualified from the General Election determined by a unanimous vote of the Election Committee upon severity.

Well, I think this change is obvious. One could make the rule even more in depth or one could simply appoint a competent Elections Committee. - Jonathon Leathers

Section 110.

(6) In the event that two Senate Candidates have the same amount of votes for the sixthlast available senate seat, the candidate with the most votes in the first round shall be declared the winner. If there is also an equal number of votes in the first round between the two tied candidates, the candidate with the most votes in the proceeding round shall be declared the winner for the sixthlast available senate seat.

This just replaces "sixth senate seat" with "last available senate seat". Obviously in reference to the fact that there are not always six senate seats up for grabs. - Jonathon Leathers

Section 114

KenBloom is working on legislation in this area

(5) If, while the review by the Elections Committee regarding the eligibility of any candidate or ticket is pending, the election shall take place and the candidate or ticket in question shall fail to receive the requisite number of votes to be elected to the office they seek, then that candidate or ticket may select to immediately discontinue the hearing without admitting guilt. Such a candidate or ticket may, however, select to continue the hearing in order to provide them with the opportunity to exonerate themselves to the complaints against them. In the event that ASUCD Government Code Chapter One, Section 115, Subsection 2 is suspected of being violated, then the candidate may be dismissed as outlined above.

Section 114 subsection 5 does not appear to work correctly anymore because of Choice Voting — KenBloom

Section 115.

(2) Candidates for ASUCD Senate who receive the required number of votes for election shall be issued Certificates of Election at the second regularly scheduled ASUCD Senate meeting following the ASUCD election unless a written complaint for an alleged campaign violation (see Section 115), filed with the Elections Committee against a candidate for ASUCD Senate and/or a written complaint for an alleged violation of Judicial Codes 4 section 402, subsection, 1, A or B is filed with the Student Government Advisor and referred to Student Judicial Affairs, against the Elections Committee is pending. Note: If a complaint has been filed against a candidate for ASUCD Senate with a campus department or governing board has not been resolved, the candidate for ASUCD Senate receiving the required number of votes for election shall not receive a Certificates of Election at the second regularly scheduled ASUCD Senate meeting following the ASUCD election, but shall receive a Certificate of Election at the Senate meeting following the resolution of the complaint if the candidate is still qualified to serve.

This change was suggested to me by Student Judicial Affairs; they said that this section hindered their action because of a typo.BrentLaabs

Actual Legislation

[WWW]Proposed Constitutional Amendment #1
Contact: KenBloom

Summary: Moves the description of choice voting procedures from the Government Codes (where the Senate can change them) to the Constitution (where they can only be changed by a vote of the campus body.

Status: Cannot be introduced until last two weeks of the quarter (constitutional amendments can only be introduced during the first two and last two weeks of the quarter).

More Ideas

Comments:

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2005-03-02 14:46:35   Internet voting is a bad idea. As the Campaigning in Dorms Controversy showed, it is possible that an interested party can get official proof of a voter's vote (by looking over their shoulder when they vote). This opens up voting to problems of vote-selling/vote-forcing. With specified polling places where rules are enforced to keep interested parties from seeing the voter when he votes, so if there is vote-selling/forcing going on, the voter can lie about his vote if he voted in the other direction. If you still want to do it over the internet because that's the machinery you have, then fine — just use a firewall to keep the elections site from being available to anything that's not a staffed polling station. (As a correlary, set up dozens of staffed polling stations in lots of places - all 4 DC's at dinner time, all of the main academic buildings, (including engineering buildings)). —KenBloom


2005-03-02 14:47:26   Go through the campaign violations with a fine-toothed comb, clarifying violations and severity. —KenBloom


2005-03-02 14:48:23   Make the ASUCD Student Court in charge of all disqualifications. The Elections Committee must be the plaintiff. If you want another layer of appeal, then have a special ASUCD court of elections that handles the disqualifications and use the ASUC Supreme court for appeals. —KenBloom


2005-03-02 14:51:46   Due Process in Violations Even more basically, you cannot assess a candidate any points without a plaintiff who seeks the disqualfication, a chance for the candidate to defend himself, and a third party hearing the case and deciding. The elections committee did not do this — it needs to be done, even for something as small as an expenditure form. —KenBloom


2005-03-02 14:53:03   Protect the counting rules Fix one of the most egregious loopholes in the Choice Voting Ammendment — move the exact description of how the counting is performed from the ASUCD Government Codes into the ASUCD Constitution where they cannot be changed without a vote of the campus. —KenBloom


2005-03-02 14:55:50   independent Observer Bring in a group of independent observers to observe the process. Open the code from the vote counting system and let computer science students audit it. Treat votes like they are moneyKenBloom


2005-03-02 14:56:30   Independent Auditor Hire an auditor to audit the elections codes now and suggest reform. —KenBloom


2005-03-02 14:57:25   [WWW]IEEE Voting Equipment Standards Project 1583KenBloom


Ken has some great ideas, I think we should all work to implement them. Nice job man. I would like to add my request to eliminate pictures from voting just as the Aggie had suggested. I think voting based on pictures is like judging girls from a sorority based on their composite portrait. Good looks don't tell the whole story and shouldn't influence the elections of the future. —RobertBaron


2005-03-02 16:10:45   not only that Robert, but the girl might have a misleadingly good looking composite picture but not be as good looking in real life! —KrisFricke


2005-03-06 15:47:20   Kris, that would surely be a crime against democracy. —BrentLaabs


2005-03-07 00:37:45   A suggestion: We need some way to hold Elections Committee members accountable for their actions. I am afraid there is a good chance that the current committee members will get away with the favoritism/incompetence that was shown this last elections. If nothing else, I would like to see some way to address any detrimental actions taken by the future comittee members. I dont have specifics yet, but I would like to talk with any of you in person to create some ideas. —PaulAmnuaypayoat


2005-03-09 02:41:10   End Campaign Expenditure Rules. This is mainly a test balloon, but I'm curious to see what people think. In talking with Mark Champagne, he said that the job of the Elections Committee would be much easier if there were no rules. Along those lines, it seems like most of the controversies of the past few elections involved the campaign expenditure agreements. Everyone signs the agreements, and very few people spend near the limit. Those that do spend more are more likely to succeed, but much of the spending reflects donations and not necessarily a richer candidate. So, does anyone mind giving the benefits of the "voluntary" expenditure agreement to those who spend more? —BrentLaabs


2005-05-10 15:48:58   I plan on changing the codes so that no one is removed from the ballot because of disqualification unless they have a) waived their right to appeal or b) had their appeal. I also need to make a minor upkeep to make it explicit that the student court desicions are bnding on elections. I like most of what I see, and 112 (8) B will be voted on thursday, and another bill will be introduced to require that a recorder take minutes at all violation point deliberations. —RevChad


2005-05-10 15:52:26   PS: I advocate an automatic closed session to investigate all cases of disqualification. —RevChad


This page needs to be updated —JamesSchwab

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