|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.
(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.
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.
- There should be a judicial officer on the Committee whose main concern are the judicial aspects of the Election. I think the ASUCD Court as well as maybe someone from CJB should sit on the committee to interview them (along with other people).
- Incidentally, in light of revelations of chronic malfeasance in Model UN ballot counting, it occurred to me that perhaps ASUCD should provide "independent elections observers" for SPAC clubs/organizations, so they can have someone not from their club observe ballot counting. I think the Elections Committee judicial officer ought to head this as well. The Elections won't keep him as busy as the other committee members (though he should help them with nonjudicial aspects when not otherwise busy) nor will he be busy with it in spring when most club elections happen. This is kind of a separate issue from ASUCD Elections reform, and someone ought to talk to SPAC about integrating it, but it should be kept in mind while designing the position and possibly worked on simultaneously. I don't know how interested other clubs would be in taking advantage of this, but the Elections judicial officer could appoint other staff to the project as well (use the ASUCD Court members?) as needed)
- UC Berkeley has a very thorough body of elections codes that differ from ours in some innovative ways and might give one some good ideas. Their elections bylaws can be found here.
- Those authoring legislation will find http://asucd.ucdavis.edu/gov/docs/ valuable, as the Government Codes and Constitution are found there.
Elections Reform 2: The Orwellians Strike Back
Chapter 1. Election Regulations.
(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
(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
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
(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.
I'd like to have someone else who will be around next year as a proponent of the legislation I write. I'm graduating in June and won't be around to run the campaign for anything controversial in the fall. — 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).
- I think this is not a good idea. See my comment below. —CJ
- I agree with Chris and his comments below, this is an unnecessary amendment. - Jonathon Leathers
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
- The philosophical problem posed by Internet voting is so fundemental that it shouldn't be solved simply with election regulations. Besides, having voting booths would be a good way to get voter turnout in general, and the use of voting booths should not have been dropped in the first place. Where did voting stations go anyway?. — KenBloom
- I'm going to have to disagree with you on this one. I think Internet voting encourages people to vote, and hardly any people do anyway. Since we have a problem with too few people controlling ASUCD anyway, I think that the problems of intimidation are worth the risk. The other ideas are good, though. —BrentLaabs
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
- My proposed legislation for this is now available at http://wwwcsif.cs.ucdavis.edu/~bloom/choicevoting-fix.doc. You may want to check out whether there are ambiguities that need to be fixed while we do this. — KenBloom
- I do not think this is a good idea. For starters, there is no "loophole." The ASUCD Constitution says that Senate elections must be conducted using the Single Transferable Vote, plain and simple. So of course this cannot be changed by the Senate and can only be changed by a campus vote. Besides, writing out an exact description of single transferable voting in the Constitution would take up way too much space and be a waste of time. (The description in the Codes is not an exact description of the algorithm anyways, but just a general description.) On top of that, if someone left out a minor detail in an exact description of the algorithm or wanted to change a minor aspect of the algorithm (like tie-breaking), it would need to go to another whole campus vote — again a waste of time. Minor implementation details should be left to the Codes. —CJ
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 money —KenBloom
- Right now, Alex Park (of Creative Media) runs the voting. I'm not sure of a sane, not-too-out-there way to fix the process, though. It's good that the ASUCD IT guy runs the voting, but the fact he watches the results as they come in and could potentially alter them is a bit shady. I think the simplest fix is having the ballot data, as it comes in, also be sent to an off-site location that Creative Media doesn't have access to — only the elections committee would have access to it. As it stands now, Creative Media could easily fake an entire election without anyone knowing. While I doubt they'd do this, it's relevant because there is a conflict-of-interest issue when we have candidates like Jonathon Leathers who campaign on "audit Creative Media". Also, what if the elections committee had been successful in convincing Creative Media to remove Rob Roy mid-race from the voting site? —PhilipNeustrom
- The Berkeley regulations I mentioned mandate that an independent body monitor their elections (usually the League of Women's Voters I think). I thought about mentioning it, but then, knowing as little about computers as I do I was like "whats to monitor here?" -KrisFricke
- From what I understand, the actual voting happens through the Registrar's Office, since there's some student ID matching going on. We could make it only accessible by that office during the elections — essentially SJA or a Vice Chancellor would have to intervene then. —BrentLaabs
- That might be more dangerous than Alex Park being in charge — he's only concerned about his job, but anyone in the school's administration would be concerned about a lot of choices that ASUCD makes and would have that much more incentive to cheat. The important thing is that whoever's in charge of the election equipment and vote counting needs to be using systems that are difficult to falsify (e.g. burning the votes onto a CD-ROM as they come in means they can't easily be tampered with), and needs to be watched by disinterested parties (see Berkeley's codes where they use the League of Women Voters) or by a variety of interested parties with opposing interests (e.g. most elections for general governments where the candidates send their own staffers/volunteers/supporters to watch the process). — KenBloom
- Also Ken I like what you said about "treat the votes like they are money." The parallels are very strong indeed. Would YOU (not Ken, you the reader) trust Alex Park with all your money and no review?
2005-03-02 14:56:30 Independent Auditor Hire an auditor to audit the elections codes now and suggest reform. —KenBloom
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
- History repeats itself. This argument has happened before (in 1994). It boils down to being fair to those who have very limited income. Check out some old aggies from 1994 from Shields and you'll find all sorts of old debate on the issue.
- I don't think most of the controversies of the past few elections have been about expenditure rules. The Disqualification Controversy was. But the Campaigning in Dorms Controversy wasn't at all related, and the Election Statement Controversy was only tangentially related (and certainly wouldn't be solved by giving everyone those benefits). Before that, I haven't heard about any other controversies since The LEAD Disqualification in Winter 2001, but that was the ASUCD Supreme Court, not the Elections Committee. — KenBloom
- Ken, the Elections Committee Scandal was also related to expenditure agreements, as was the issue in 1994. I'm a bleeding heart liberal, so I am really concerned about the poor getting left out of the process. The thing is, Rob spent about $70 and I believe Kristen spent $0. If students are resourceful enough, they can do a lot. I suppose we have a lot more free time than most people, but a cheap campaign can be done. Also, I suppose the scion of a billionaire could lay down $10,000 for a election. But if they're stupid enough to waste that much money on an college election, they might waste that much on the students they represent — it might be worth it in the long run. By the way, what did people say in the old Aggies? —BrentLaabs
- I hasten to point out that that is the only case of controversy about spending limits that I have heard in 4 years. — KenBloom, who is not out for a particular viewpoint, but only after the truth.
- I spent no money at all in the Fall 2004 and lost by 43 votes to someone (Keith) who I believe went just over $250.00. I also think that the success of Rob and Kristen gives some justification for this discussion. It's been shown that given the ASUCD elections and the fact that we have Choice Voting, it's not necessary to spend a lot (if any) money to get elected. Nonetheless, if you have two candidates vying for the same voters and one can get their name out better than the other because they have more money, it's entirely possible that money could be a factor. The libertarian in me says get rid of the expenditure rules but the Green in me wants to make sure it's an even playing field for all candidates. I'd rather ensure equality of spending and make the Elections Committee do a little more work (coming from someone who would like to be on the Elections Committee no less). - Jonathon Leathers
- One thing that I dont think has been greatly discussed yet is the concept of soft money. It has had some influence, most notably when the KKK spent money to purchase flyers attacking LEAD several years ago and when the Students Against Divisiveness did the same thing shortly after in order to help Student Focus and Unite, LEAD's primary opponents at the time. Since there is no way to regulate the use of money by non-candidates, are the spending limits even relevant now? Here is a hypothetical situation: Suppose Student X decides to run for Senate next fall, and I spent $100 USD to create T-Shirts that contains text supporting Student X's candidacy. Assume I got no permission for doing so, and that I have had no direct contact with Student X. There is absolutley no recourse against me for distibuting these shirts since i am protected by my First Amendment Rights, among other things, and you cannot sanction Student X since he has no responsability over my actions. Would making stricter limits on spending force some people to rely on soft money usage by people such as myself, the KKK, the Students Against Divisiveness, or any other set of non-candidates? I think we ought to have some discussion about this if we are talking about spending limits at this time. - Paul Amnuaypayoat
- Good point Paul. If people really wanted to get around the spending limits, they easily could do so in the ways that you've just described. Something to be taken into consideration. - Jonathon Leathers
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