Election Statement Controversy

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In the Fall of 2004 the (ASUCD) Elections Committee was the subject of some controversy regarding altering of Senate candidate's statements. In particular, the Committee altered the text of the SOSSS slate's statement. The candidate statements appear in The California Aggie and at the ASUCD [WWW]election site (next to photographs of the candidates). The full, un-edited text submitted to the Elections Committee by SOSSS was the following:

The Elections Committee removed the line "...which is why we promise that we will not embezzle more than the other candidates, and we will not steal $356.76 of books from the UCD bookstore, unlike a certain Student Focus representative last year." The mention of stolen books is a reference to the ASUCD Senator Ackerman Scandal. It was the removal of this line that sparked controversy, leading to a [WWW]guest opinion article in the Aggie by the Chief Justice of the ASUCD Court (Kris Fricke) as well as a [WWW]rebuttal by the Elections Committee Chair (Christine Schachter). Kris Fricke [WWW]informally replied to her rebuttal.

Elections Committee Justification

In an email to the SOSSS slate, Christine Schachter of the Elections Committee justified the legality of removing the portion:

Claims expanded

Whether or not the Elections Committee is within its rights to alter candidate statements is unknown, but the referenced portion of the [WWW]Government Codes (as of Fall 2004) state the following (bolded are the quoted regions):

and

It would appear as if the second quote was taken largely out of context, as the reference to 'may' effects the printing of sample ballots containing all candidate statements, not the ability of the committee to selectively alter statements. As for the first quote, it appears in a box of text describing the printing process, which might indicate that it doesn't grant authority to alter, but instead grants authority to change the procedure for the printing process.

The Elections Committee appears to have improperly identified the line as libel, and used that as justification for its removal. In actuality, the line cannot be libel, as it (A) is true (B) does not name a specific individual. As the line was eliminated for no tenable reason, the affected candidates charge the Committee with arbitrarily editing their statement.

SOSSS is currently exploring their legal options, and the lawyer they have consulted suggests that their case is quite good.

Effects

It appears that new Senators may not take their office on time, because this complaint was filed against the Elections Committee. Since the complaint, filed November 15, had not yet been decided by Campus Judicial Board by Thursday, December 2, the new senators were not able to take office at tonight's Senate meeting. This was explained very well by an [WWW]Aggie article on December 2. However, a positive side effect of the delay is that it has given more time to investigate the Campaigning in Dorms Controversy, as Student Judicial Affairs had not made a decision on that matter before the last senate meeting of Fall.

The Campus Judicial Board found in favor of SOSSS in a hearing about this issue. Kris Fricke [WWW]described the hearing in his LiveJournal and one audience member told SOSSS: "you tore the elections committee a new asshole."

Official Report of the Campus Judicial Board has officially been [WWW]released, and copies can be had from the Student Government Administrative Office, third floor MU. The CJB found in favor of the Orwellians in both hearings, with votes of 7-0.

There have been no repercussions for anyone involved.

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Okay, I am really confused here. The [WWW]new senators took office on Thursday — but I can't seem to find out what exactly is supposed to happen to the senators. As I understand it, they couldn't take office because there was an outstanding complaint against the Elections Committee..So, because the complaint was filed — dispite the fact it was not in their favor — they took office? —PhilipNeustrom


2005-01-10 22:35:26   Phil, the complaints weren't against the specific senators that ran, it was against the Election commitee and not swearing in the new people was a precaution because in the worst case scenario, the election results could have been thrown out completely. But since the was no technical claim on invalidity, the results still stand. —JenndelaVega

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