In the Winter 2005 ASUCD Election, the Elections Committee chose to disqualify candidate Rob Roy on the second day of voting. Their decision was based on his inability to file certain receipts verifying his campaign spending.
The Aggie reported on this here
The Code in Question
According to the ASUCD Government Codes Chapter 1: Election Regulations Section 112(8):
A. No candidate, ticket, or Ballot Measure campaign coordinator (pro/con) in a General election or Recall election may falsify expenditure forms. This may include but is not limited to: False signature, incomplete forms, not claiming purchases/donation used for campaign purposes. B. If the Election Committee find that any candidate or ticket have falsified their expenditure form(s) they may be assessed three(3) violation point therefore; may be disqualified from the Genereal Election determined by a unanimous vote of the Election Committee upon severity.
Forgetting some receipts is somehow SEVERE enough for someone to get disqualified (3 points)? Spending more than the allowed $250 gets you one point. A candidate walking around with a laptop having people vote gets two points - one for campaigning within 100 feet of a polling station, and one for using a candidate's personal computer as a polling station. Now that's pretty bad shit, but the Elections Committee decided that forgetting some receipts (and they've verified that the numbers were correct - Rob only spent a little about $100 on his campaign!) was worse.
The elections committee cited section 112(8), stating that Rob's incomplete form qualifies as a falsified form, and assessed violation points accordingly.
At tonight's (2/24/05) Senate meeting - the majority of senators disbelief of this latest development, as well as support for Rob Roy. It was addressed both at the beginning of the meeting, as well as during public discussion at the toward the end of the meeting. — PaulIvanov
What follows is a series of hasty missives and comments on said missives sent back and forth on Thursday and Friday of Election Week. Much of this is probably redundant, old, and should be deleted.
Christine Schachter's letter to Rob Roy
This is the e-mail sent to Rob Roy by the Elections Committee chair informing him he was disqualified.
Rob: We would like to inform of the following Election Committee's unanimous decision: After extensive review and investigation into an expenditure form that was submitted by Robert Roy, on February 16, 2005, he has been found to be in violation of ASUCD Government Codes: Chapter 1: Election Regulations, Section 112 (8): No candidate, ticket, or Ballot Measure campaign coordinator (pro/con) in a General election or Recall election may falsify expenditure forms. This may include but is not limited to: False signatures, incomplete forms, not claiming purchases/donation used for campaign purposes. Therefore, because he failed to include any receipt or documentation of purchases, he has failed to submit a complete expenditure form. Adhering to subsection B of Section 112 (8): If the Election Committee finds that any candidate or ticket have falsified their expenditure form(s) they may be assessed three (3) violation points; therefore, may be disqualified from the General Election determined by unanimous vote of the Election Committee upon severity. Thus, by unanimous vote, the Elections Committee has assessed Robert Roy three (3) violation points resulting in his disqualification. ASUCD Elections Committee
Igor Birman's Letter to the Election Committee Regarding Rob Roy's Election Controversy
Legal superhero Igor Birman jumped into action in Rob's defense the night of the disqualification: 11:30 PM PST 2/24/05
Dear Ms. Schachter: In regards to the Elections Committee's purported disqualification of Mr. Rob Roy, a duly qualified candidate for the office of ASUCD Senator, this notice is to inform you and other members of the Committee of the inherent illegality of such action. As election officers of a taxpayer-funded and publicly-owned University, the actions of your Committee are governed by relevant U.S. and California State Constitutional provisions and statutes. Your actions to "disqualify" or otherwise penalize Mr. Roy without due process of law, and without an opportunity for Mr. Roy to confront and examine witnesses and evidence against him are in direct violation of the provisions contained within the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and applicable to state actors such as the Elections Committee. Furthermore, your actions may result or possibly have already resulted in the disenfranchisement and civil and voting rights infringement of thousands of otherwise duly-qualified electors who lawfully chose to cast their votes for a duly-qualified candidate in an election conducted by a quasi-governmental body. I urge you to reconsider your decision forthwith and take into account the severe consequences and substantial civil penalties that may follow as a result of federal civil rights litigation in connection with the above-referenced matter. Sincerely, -Igor Birman
Sallie Boorman's response
In response to public outcry, Elections Committee member Sallie Boorman offered these words
To all.... First of all, I would like to thank you for voicing your concern and taking action for something that you believe so much in. I would like you know that I have read all of your emails, and agree with many points (though I cannot say which, because of the restrictions of my office) but I think that it is important and fair for everyone that has taken their time to write to us that you receive some kind of response in return. I would also like to state, that this is in no way is an official statement of the elections committee, but the humble opinion of one of its members. In regards to the disqualification of Rob Roy, I think that there is much misunderstanding surrounding the situation. I must call to the attention of many that it is not the elections committee members that make the government codes and rules that we must enforce. Those rules and everything surrounding them (such as the severity on which points are assessed) are actually written by the senators. We as a committee must enforce the rules regardless of whether we personally think they are fair or just. The fact remains that it is not within the jurisdiction of the elections committee to determine how the rules should change. We are there to enforce what the senate has determined as acceptable codes. I am pleased to know that so many think these codes, most specifically the system with which violation points are assessed, are unjust. I now urge you to voice these concerns to the people that can implement the changes you seek...your senators. Sincerely, Sallie Boorman
- I love how she is taking no responsibility for the action. It is completely at their discression how many points to assign to the violation. —PhilipNeustrom
- It's not just how many points to assign to the violation but whether it was a violation in the first place. Like I said before, the Committee's interpretation of those codes is not the only possible one or even the obvious one - the code isn't talking about all incomplete forms but only ones that are incomplete *with the result that they become falsified*, which Rob's form was not, by the Committee's own admission! I just sent a letter to the Aggie making this point, hopefully they'll print it. - KenjiYamada
- Excellent point Kenji. While I tried to be somewhat neutral in my analysis, I just went through the code to see what it actually says at Government Code interpretation. I honestly don't see how one's duty to faithfully follow the codes can cause someone to feel compelled to interpret them in a ridiculous way. Some would call this intellectual dishonesty. -jr
Ryan Basilio's Letter
A former Elections Committee member, Ryan Basilio, gave his input on the controversy.
To whom it may concern: I have been very worried about the current situation that has happened to senatorial candidate Rob Roy. Let me explain some things first. I was in the elections committee during the fall of 2003 elections. During those elections Mr. Kalen Gallagher and Ms. Paloma Perez were running Student focuss campaign. The elections were running smoothly until the first filing period for finance disclosure had passed and as the candidates dropped off their disclosure forms FOCUS it seems had not received a receipt that we needed to verify their spending. Attached is a document that explains their case. They have stated in the document that they did not produce a receipt and therefore could not verify their financial records. Kalen actually drove down to Clairmont in southern California to produce a receipt. Anyways the current chairperson for the committee was on that same committee that allowed for the receipt to be produced 2 days after the disclosure deadline therefore violating the campaign finance agreement. The Committee let this as a precedent to allow late receipts. So if my understanding is correct then the deal with Rob Roy not producing receipts should not be an issue for disqualification until the final financial statements by the candidates. Thank you for your time and energy. you can view the evidence please see this link : [http://math.ucdavis.edu/~neustrom/scan.jpg scan.jpg] Ryan Basilio
Christine Schachter's response to multiple people
Mere hours before the results were to be announced, Christine Schachter let loose another e-mail expressing her feelings on the subject.Fri, 25 Feb 2005 08:35:18 (PST)
Thank you for voicing your concern, as the Elections Committee has not taken this issue lightly, nor did it in making its decision of disqualifying Rob Roy. However, whether or not you believe Rob Roy to be a trustworthy and identifiable candidate, the fact remains that he failed to turn any receipts with his expenditure form, placing him in violation of government codes. If you feel strongly about this issue, then the way to make a difference is to talk to one of the ASUCD Senators, as they have the power over writing and changing the codes; while it is our sole duty to implement them. Also, please take into account where you receive your information from and make sure that you have all the facts straight. If you would like a copy of the government codes as to become better informed about ASUCD and the Election, they can be found on the third floor of the MU. If you do feel this strongly, I urge you to apply for the Elections Committee next year, and make the change you want to see happen. Christine Schachter Elections Committee Chair
- The more you read, the more it seems nobody on the Committee has actually read the Government code. There simply is NO authority to disqualify someone on the basis of solely an incomplete form. The Government code they cited provides only for falsification, and _at this point_, there is no evidence of this behavior. The committee has a history of inventing rules that do not exist. Be sure to save these e-mails as evidence. There can potentially be serious reprocutions for this, not limited to their positions on the committee. -jr
- I got that same email in reply from her so I don't know if she even read our emails. - MarieHuynh
- "make the change you want to see happen" isn't that esstially a quote from the LEAD slogan? -DanMasiel
The elections committee decided that they could not disqualify somebody after the first vote was cast, so they reversed themselves and announced their reversal when they announced the election results.
Rob Roy went on to be elected in the first round of vote counting, going over the threshold by 130 votes. This was the first time since Choice Voting had been implemented that any candidate had won in the first round.
The Aggie's report on this after the reinstatement.
Rob's reinstatement brought some Aggie attention, in the form of an editorial and some letters. The editorial concluded that Rob Roy should have been disqualified after the election, but the Elections Committee's mistake made his getting a senate seat possible. However, letters written by Chad Van Schoelandt and Paul Ivanov of Friends Urging Campus Kindness supported Rob. The Aggie also published a letter from Rob Roy the day he was sworn in to office.
2005-02-24 17:28:14 Total bullshit. It seems like the committee could have censured him without a DQ. His infraction wasn't severe enough to merit a DQ. This is a farce. Emails have been sent to the committee members. —JackHaskel
2005-02-24 17:32:27 I sent an email to the committee members asking them to reverse their decision. —MikeIvanov
2005-02-24 17:46:19 Question: tomorrow, when the judicial constitutional ammendment passes, who will have the power to rule on the results of this election —KenBloom
2005-02-24 17:55:14 The IRS standard is that receipts be maintained for items over $25. And unless explicitely required as an attachment, need only be retained for a specified number of years by the declarant. Ironic.—JaimeRaba
2005-02-24 17:57:55 Someone check the instructions on the forms. (I don't remember, because I didn't spend any money when I ran) —KenBloom
2005-02-24 18:00:35 Form instructions may not be legally sufficient to effect a disqualification. Usually the standard is falsifacation. And also there is perhaps some due process requirement here, too. —JaimeRaba
- Well, there's two ways about it: first is to find out whether he broke any rules at all by not giving reciepts (if reciepts weren't included in the instructions, he didn't break any rules, game over. If they were, then he did and we move onto the next). the second is to argue that the penalty only applies to falsification (and not to accidental omission). This is the lawyer stuff. Furthermore, I think there may be utility in waiting a couple days until the ASUCD Court has enough power to sort out the mess, rather than the Elections Committee. — KenBloom
2005-02-24 18:02:10 (To some extent, Federal AND State election laws apply to even Student Gov't elections at Universities.) —JaimeRaba
2005-02-24 18:11:26 Gabriel Bang had some kind of campaign expenditure form penalty as well. I think he didn't turn it in on time or it wasn't properly filled out. He was able to take office and was only given a few hours of community service in the CoHo as a penalty. —MikeSiminitus
2005-02-24 18:16:52 I remember that there was a case involving UC Riverside and UC Irvine where the respective student governments had imposed mandatory spending limts, and the district court ruled this as unconstitutional under the standard set by the US Supremee Court in Buckley v. Valeo (1976). I wonder if this was ever overruled? This is significant because it could—by analogy—extend other relevant law into this situation. Let me know if there is further interest in this topic. —JaimeRaba
2005-02-24 19:14:36 Additional details: The elections committee called all of the places Rob listed on his form and confirmed he listed the correct prices for all his items. They know he wasn't lying, but they still deemed this severe enough to give him a 3 out of 3 possible violation points. Total bullshit. —PhilipNeustrom
2005-02-24 18:54:48 can someone mention the specifics of what is on the expenditure form that doesn't have reciepts? how much isn't accounted for? —RishiTrivedi
- He bought spray-paint, like 30 bucks worth of it, and didn't give them the reciepts for it. Keep in mind that they personally verified that his prices were correct.
2005-02-24 19:19:36 This is crap. I want to see this in the Aggie front page tomorrow so everyone can read about this, fair and square. —MilesHookey
- It's going to be the front-page story. —PhilipNeustrom
2005-02-24 19:29:27 It seems pretty clear to me that the article "A" quoted above says you can't submit an incomplete form *with the result that your form is falsified*, not just that you can't submit an incomplete form, period. So in order for Rob's incomplete form to even fall under that article, they would have to show that his form had been falsified, which according to this page they have explicitly denied. —KenjiYamada
2005-02-24 19:41:59 If this does prove to be complete bullshit by whatever body makes that decision, will the members of the Elections Committee be punished at all? —JenniferChu
2005-02-24 19:42:29 Has anyone contacted Judicial Affairs Office about the legality of this? —MilesHookey
- As of this afternoon, when I voted, Rob was still on the ballot. This was after his disqualification had been announced. —TracyPerkins
2005-02-24 19:56:46 fully the lamest thing that has happened. there is no place in ASUCD for personal fucking agendas. Let's get as many people as we can to the 1st floor tomorrow when they announce the results... 11am east conference room —MikeyNolan
2005-02-24 20:26:46 This is freakin' retarded - this is obviously a ploy to get rid of the most influential member of F.U.C.K.—DanXie
2005-02-24 20:39:17 i got your back Rob —GeorgejAndrews
2005-02-24 20:47:47 Actually, its in the East Conference Room on the first floor. 11am, tomorrow (Friday) morning. —TeresaKenny
2005-02-24 21:01:23 Show up where the Elections Committee will announce the results, 11am Friday, East Conference Room, 1st sloor MU. —TeresaKenny
2005-02-24 21:42:46 Another supporter of Rob, and crusader against Swords and Sandals Scandals —JamesSchwab
2005-02-24 21:47:21 I'm in. Let's have a good ol' fashioned flash mob —ScottRitchie
2005-02-24 22:42:47 There's usually a flash mob anyway. People want to know the results. —KenBloom
2005-02-24 22:49:55 I just wanted to let everyone know that I have contacted Igor Birman in Georgia and i am briefing him on what is going on in California. He is utterly fuming over this and you know what happens when Igor gets mad...ask the California Aggie and ASUCD —GeorgejAndrews
2005-02-24 23:41:00 Unfortunately, according to Elections Committee, the ASUCD Judiciary can't help out on this one; Elections Committee issues are sent to the same guys you see if you cheated on a test. — TravisGrathwell
- There's an ammendment regarding that on the ballot, and I would be really surprised if it didn't pass. That leaves an open question though whether the ASUCD Court can deal elections that occurred before the ammendment was passed. — KenBloom
- Read the text..It doesn't take action until later. I spoke with a member of the court about this. —PhilipNeustrom
- I, along with Kris Fricke, Chief Justice of the ASUCD Court, are away at a conference in San Francisco. We will both return Sunday, when we can both develop our solutions that is more favorable towards everyone. I can at least speak for myself when I say that this action definatly warrants the complete removal of all current members of the Elections Committee on the basis of imcompetence. I ask that someone please collect the elections data ASAP and run your own analysis to see if Rob Roy would win otherwise. - Paul Amnuaypayoat
2005-02-25 14:21:30 I am proud to have written in to the Elections Committee. Harassment for a just cause can and does make a difference. I had felt that this sort of direct action was useless but the whole F.U.C.K. slate has definitely renewed my faith in democracy in action. —BrandonKeene
2005-02-25 19:11:49 Congratulations to everyone who won, and also to those who ran. I'm especially happy the "third party" did well. It's sad that not every deserving person won, there are certain would-be senators who made huge impact despite not winning. —JaimeRaba
2005-02-28 13:42:38 Hey all, I have yet to find time to read and digest everything on this page, and moreover I'm not sure whether with the passing of the judicial amendment I can still comment on these things or if even these immediate events fall under my potential jurisdiction, but I just wanted to say that I think the title of this page/scandal, currently "Elections Committee Scandal" seems a bit vague. There have been a number of "elections committee scandals," and they're usually titled after the specific action. Perhaps Expenditure Form Scandal or Receiptgate, or I dunno, just not "Elections Cmmtte Scandal" —KrisFricke