|Winter 2010 ASUCD Elections
|Sergio Blanco / Vishakha Patel(illegally on the ballot)
|Jack Zwald / Previn Witana
|Greg Webb / Jessica Martin
The results of the election were announced Friday, February 19th at 12:00pm by the MU flagpole. The election could be challenged because the Elections Committee illegally put Subhan Cheema, Sergio Blanco, and Vishakha Patel on the ballot when they didn't submit enough signatures in time (see controversy). However, since eliminating these candidates from the running doesn't change the results, such a challenge is unlikely.
- Jack Zwald, president
- Previn Witana, vice president
- Adam Thongsavat
- Alison Tanner
- Liz Walz
- Osahon Ekhator
- Ozzy Arce
- Selisa Romero
|Jack Zwald and Previn Witana
|Sergio Blanco and Vishakha Patel
|Gregg Webb and Jessica Martín
Zwald/Witana beat Blanco/Patel 1,678 to 1,561 after Webb/Martín was eliminated, 51.8% to 48.2% (3.6% margin of victory).
Table is in order of election or elimination.
Summary of Senate Voting
No candidate reached the required 519 vote quota to be elected in the first round. First round elections have only happened in 5 of the 14 ASUCD Senate elections using Choice Voting.
Adam Thongsavat was elected after Christopher Adams was eliminated. Cheema, Senesi, Stone, Ornelas, and Turkell were eliminated in subsequent rounds, resulting in Liz Walz and Ozzy Arce being elected in the eighth round.
Raj Kumar was the final candidate eliminated, resulting in the remaining three candidates being elected automatically. However, Alison Tanner did reach the threshold in the eleventh round. Osahon Ekhator reached the threshold with Alison Tanner's surplus votes. Selisa Romero was elected about 35 votes short of the threshold (which is irrelevant once there are no more candidates to eliminate). Ballot data analysis shows, if Kumar had received 19 more votes in the final round of the election, he would have been elected instead of Selisa Romero.
If you're wondering how the election would have turned out under different election rules, visit Bizarro World.
The terms of independent President Joe Chatham and Vice President Chris Dietrich expire at the start of the last Senate meeting of Winter Quarter 2010. Pursuant to Article III, Section 3 of the ASUCD Constitution, they are expected to deliver Certificates of Election to LEAD slate President-elect Jack Zwald and Vice President-elect Previn Witana at the beginning of the final Senate meeting of their terms, projected to be March 11, 2010, whereupon Zwald and Witana will immediately assume office.
Candidates on the Ballot
- Internal Affairs Commission Alternate Greg Webb ran for President with Outreach Assemblymember Jessica Martín as his running mate.
- Former ASUCD Senator Jack Zwald and current Senator Previn Witana were the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates for LEAD, respectively.
Controversy - Blanco/Patel eligibility
Daniel Golden filed an ASUCD Court case against the Elections Committee alleging that because their petition to run for executive office lacked sufficient valid signatures/SID's by the deadline, they should not be placed on the ballot. The Elections Committee allowed the ticket to appear on the ballot after granting the ticket time to gather sufficient signatures to make up the deficit, a policy they made available to all candidates. Justice Ryan Meyerhoff recused himself as Golden is his housemate. The case was heard February 10th 6:15pm and the Court, in a 4-2 majority decision, held that the Elections Committee exceeded its authority, and ordered the Elections Committee not to place Blanco and Patel on the executive ballot.
In a decision sure to cause PoliSci and History majors to misquote Andrew Jackson, Elections Committee Chair Nick Sidney released a statement on Tuesday, February 16, one day before the first day of voting, announcing that Blanco and Patel would remain on the ballot until they had exhausted all avenues of appeal. The release is quoted below.
As the Chair of the ASUCD Elections Committee, and in concurrence with the other members, I have decided by the power vested within me by ASUCD Bylaw 406.F, to certify the ballot for the Winter 2010 General Election with Sergio Blanco and Vishakha Patel remaining as official candidates for President and Vice President. The recent decision by the ASUCD Court infringes on the right of eligible students to run for office and neglected the procedural and substantive due process rights of Mr. Blanco and Ms. Patel guaranteed to them by the ASUCD Constitution, the Constitution of the State of California, and the Constitution of the United States. The ASUCD Constitution clearly retains for the Elections Committee original jurisdiction over questions of election law. As such, this case falls outside of the jurisdiction of the ASUCD Court. It is the responsibility of the Elections Committee to ensure a fair election, in compliance with the Constitution and Bylaws. To remove a candidate from the ballot directly violates ASUCD Bylaw 413.E, which states that no "candidate shall be removed from the ballot until they have lost all potential appeals" and the ASUCD Constitution, which states that the Court "cannot sanction a candidate." Mr. Blanco and Ms. Patel were not parties to the first case, and they have given written notice to the ASUCD that they intend to challenge the action of the Court. Clearly, they have not lost all potential appeals. As such, the Elections Committee cannot remove them from the ballot. We maintain that the right of the students to vote is null and void without the right to vote for candidates of their choice. We are not willing to violate the ASUCD Constitution and Bylaws by denying the substantive right of a candidate to run for office and for students to vote for a candidate of their choice.
Apparently nobody ever explained to Nick Sidney the difference between original and appellate jurisdiction. LOL!
Technically, Golden brought the case to the Court under the assumption that the Committee's policy was an original ruling that could be appealed to the Court. But the Committee's policy is an executive function, whereas it could be argued that challenging the policy might require a hearing before the Elections Committee sitting as a court of original jurisdiction. The elections bylaws are clear on how to submit an elections violation charge that occurs during an election that can result in violation points, but they don't envision an alleged error that takes place before the elections period. —JeremyKoo
The terms of Senators Joemar Clemente, Justin Gold, Kevin Massoudi, Previn Witana, Shawdee Rouhafza, and Trevor Taylor expired at the Senate meeting following the election, February 25, 2010. The winners received their Certificates of Election and took office at that meeting. 3 LEAD Senators, 1 ACT Senator, and 2 independents left office.
The Elections Committee does not require candidates to note slate affiliations with their candidacy paperwork.
- Christopher Adams
- Subhan Cheema, Internal Affairs Commission Member, Picnic Day's Administrative Services Director
- Depending on the election results, the controversy surrounding Blanco's appearance on the ballot could have applied to Cheema as well.
- Darwin Moosavi, Environmental Policy and Planning Commission chair
- Moosavi withdrew his candidacy and did not appear on the ballot.
Independents Running Together
- Adam Thongsavat, Former Elections Committee chair
- Raj Kumar, Former Elections Committee Events Coordinator
- Ozzy Arce, External Affairs Commission Member
- Osahon Ekhator
- Rudy Ornelas, Former ASUCD Court Associate Justice
- Kirstin Stone, Business and Finance Commission member
- David Turkell, Former Director of Students For Barack Obama in Southern California
- Liz Walz
California Aggie Endorsements
The California Aggie editorial board meets with all candidates and considers their platforms and statements at its candidates forum to make its endorsements. In its Thursday, February 11th edition, it announced its endorsements.
For Executive Office
- The article did not officially set a further order, but it gave positive comments to JAM ticket Sergio Blanco for President and Vishakha Patel for Vice President without even naming the Independent Webb/Martín ticket.
- Electing these candidates would have yielded a Senate composed of 6 LEAD Senators (no change), 3 JAM Senators (+1), and 3 Independents (no change), and the extinction of the ACT slate (-1).
2010-01-21 13:29:56 BrentLaabs caught me using weasel words.
But seriously, who else is running for anything? Is the list of persons who have taken out a petition a matter of public record? —JeremyKoo
- No but nothing stays a secret for long. - GregWebb
- I've never understood the "let's keep it a secret until the last minute" mentality of these slates. SGAO keeps it a secret because, well, some of the SJA checks might come back positive. But really, isn't campaigning all about getting your name out? That's why Rob Roy was the first candidate to win in round 1 — he was out campaigning by the first week of January. I guess the slates can play tricks by attacking each others' constituencies, but ASUCD is so incestuous that it's not like information doesn't get around anyway. All they're doing is limiting their public interactions. Well, I guess it makes sense if they're all lazy. —BrentLaabs
2010-01-29 21:33:11 Well, the list is up now. I've added any current/past ASUCD positions for the senate candidates as told by the wiki+ASUCD website. Good luck everyone! —RyanMeyerhoff
2010-01-31 12:58:26 Is it the general sentiment that elections are never won at the Forum, but can certainly be lost, either by failure to get your name out (read: Logan Taylor, despite a #2 Aggie endorsement (Fall 2009)) or gaffe (read: Burke Rosen and rape victims (Winter 2009))? —JeremyKoo
- As a former Senate candidate (twice) and Elections Committee Chair (twice), my sentiment is that the Forum has little to no impact because the people who attend (as opposed to the people just trying to eat lunch) tend to be there in support of a person or people already. And unless something has changed in the past few years, there are also very few people who attend to begin with. I think the only real impact it has is by people reading about it in the Aggie. Whether the Aggie has much of an impact is another question entirely. Their endorsements have little to no impact in my opinion. And the fact that I was endorsed #1 by the Aggie and didn't get elected is not why I say that. - JonathonLeathers
2010-02-04 03:07:56 So, that court case sounds like fun. I miss ASUCD Elections Committee controversy. Someone post more details so I can relive my college years through Davis Wiki! —JonathonLeathers
2010-02-13 20:00:11 I'm honestly not seeing it Brent. Bylaw 407A says a write-in candidate's votes can only be tallied if they have registered with the Elections Committee no later than seven academic days prior to the first day of the Election. Election Day is Feb 17th, which is 3 academic days away, and Sidney told me today that Blanco has not filed for write-in candidacy. —JeremyKoo
For a write-in candidate or Ticket to be recognized and his/her/their votes tallied, he/she/they must be registered with the ASUCD Elections Committee no later than seven (7) academic days prior to the first day of the Election.
Did Blanco/Patel register to become a candidate prior to a week before the election? Yes, they submitted paperwork to be a candidate within 24 hours of the Mandatory Meeting. In fact the Elections Committee erred (and according to you, continues to err) in their interpretation of the work submitted. The request to be a candidate at that time could only be a request to be a write-in candidate. The only thing the candidate is required to do besides notify the Elections Committee of intent is:
Upon registration, the write-in candidate(s) or Ticket(s) must submit a list of reasonable misspellings of their first and last names. This list is not to exceed ten (10) misspellings of the candidate(s) or Ticket(s) first name(s) and ten (10) misspellings of the last name(s). A write-in candidate or Ticket must use his/her/their first name(s) and last name(s).
We may interpret that they either failed to submit a list (the text reads "must", not "shall"), or that the EC erred in not requiring one at that time, but either way Blanco/Patel should be considered as a write-in candidate. Even though it says that the Elections Committee must approve the list, it does not mean that this will be the only list used in the election. Bylaw 409A states:
The ASUCD Elections Committee shall oversee the tabulation of votes cast in every ASUCD Election held under the authority of the ASUCD Constitution and Chapter Four of the ASUCD Bylaws.
This clause grants the Elections Committee broad authority to determine which votes could be considered valid votes for a candidate, meaning that a vote for "Serjio Blanko" could still be counted.
Plus, the write-in statutes are pretty vague. I mean heck, it doesn't even say that write-ins need to submit signatures to be valid. Note that Blanco/Patel still meet all criteria to be eligible candidates, just not official candidates.
Furthermore, this fits with the spirit of the write-in law. So you messed up the paperwork, or entered the race late. You can still run, just not with as many benefits. So even if you argue that the above interpretation is a stretch, it is perfectly in line with the spirit of the write-in rules. And it has the added side-effect of getting you all out of yet another constitutional crisis with the administration breathing down your necks.
I assumed that Blanco would be joindered to the case and had presented an adequate defense, but it appears that it did not happen. I mainly took the side of the plaintiff because ASUCD insiders rarely want to be the ones who kick other insiders out, and I wanted to make sure that Golden (a relative outsider) was well represented. It appears that this failed to happen in this case (did no one seriously consider laches even?). —BrentLaabs
I like that quite a lot, though the Court might take its "Golden rule" (see what I did there?) and extend it to mean, "Regardless of the Elections Committee's failure to require it of candidates seeking to be named on the ballot, because the Blanco/Patel ticket did not submit a list of ten misspellings by the deadline for write-in candidates to do so (7 days before Election Day), the Committee shall not count any votes cast for a Blanco/Patel ticket."
I think Whitney and Miller both consider laches in their dissents, without naming it specifically, but I'm the only one to mention it specifically in my brief (and helpfully define it in a footnote for them!). The Court has set a standard that it expects the candidates to either be clairvoyant and just know when the Elections Committee is exceeding its authority, or else mistrust anything and everything the Elections Committee says.
Blanco was present at the hearing, and I don't know if there was any attempt to permit him to offer a defense, but the Court did not name him a "real party" and had to depend on Nick Sidney for his defense. Sidney concentrated hard on upholding the Elections Committee's policy and the Court spent little time in oral argument examining what the remedy Golden proposed, disqualifying Blanco/Patel, would mean in terms of equity. Little time too was spent examining whether the Court even had a banstick to use against the Blanco/Patel ticket, and I think that through no fault of Nick Sidney, whose only interest should have been the Elections Committee, Blanco was not well-served by Sidney's defense of the Elections Committee and deserved his own opportunity at defense. —JeremyKoo
Well, if Blanco was present, I guess it's his own fault he didn't move to be considered a party to the case. Or submit a brief. The lack of briefs in this case was kinda stunning. LOL Golden Rule. But seriously, the "must submit" wording implies that it's required in order for the list to be considered. If it was "shall submit" instead, it would look more like a requirement without which the write-in candidacy would be invalid.
My attention has now been drawn to how lame the rules for write-in candidates are. For instance, they can apply to be a write in candidate seven days before the election (407A), but are not eligible for office if they didn't attend the Mandatory Meeting weeks beforehand (404A7). Oops. This obviously doesn't have any bearing in the instant case, but I'm sorry I didn't fix this sooner. Hopefully IAC will look at the write-in rules and make them nicer in the near future. —BrentLaabs
"The Court has set a standard that it expects the candidates to either be clairvoyant and just know when the Elections Committee is exceeding its authority, or else mistrust anything and everything the Elections Committee says." You don't have to be clairvoyant to read the Election Bylaws. Anyone can read the Bylaws and see that there are no rules for extending signature gathering deadlines. I always made a point of telling the candidates at the Mandatory Candidates Meeting that it was their responsibility to know the Election rules because regardless of what they think as candidates or I say as Elections Committee Chair, the Bylaws are what matter. Oh, and if the past has taught anything, it's that you should mistrust the Elections Committee... they/we have a habit of getting things wrong and making up rules. - JonathonLeathers
2010-02-15 22:43:04 It appears we've scooped the Tuesday Aggie on the Court ruling, despite them having the extra holiday, and despite their Twitter stream receiving a tweet from @ucdaction. —JeremyKoo
2010-02-16 15:16:43 Well, now this just got interesting because now it's become a question of the Court's role overall. We may remember that the Supreme Court of the United States depends on the respect from executive and legislative branches for enforcement of its rulings. The ASUCD Court, comparatively, is still in its infancy, and has to make decisions that also consider the other branches' likelihoods that they will respect its ruling. It would seem that the Court failed to account for this.
Also, let's assume Blanco wins, because it's all moot if he doesn't, then you'll have the EC certify, the Court voiding that certification and ordering the EC to reconsider in light of a new opinion, and the EC standing its ground and refusing to certify any candidate for Executive Office. Then we might reasonably assume the new Senate gets to deal with a vacancy in both the office of President and Vice President which starts at the end of the last Senate meeting of winter quarter. In this case, the Senate President Pro Tempore becomes President at the end of the last Senate meeting of Winter quarter under Art III, Sec 5, Clause 3, and appoints a Vice President approved by majority vote of the Senate.
But who would be this Senator? Well, since under Art II, Sec 6 the Senate does not choose a Senate President Pro Tempore until the first meeting of the new quarter, the current PPT becomes President. Someone start the betting on ASUCD President Andre Lee. —JeremyKoo
What is the likelihood of them winning? I'm out of the loop and have no clue. ASUCD had two ineligible candidates win Senate seats and become Senators. Maybe that can be topped when two ineligible candidates (they didn't have enough signatures, they're ineligible, it's not rocket science) become President and Vice President. - JonathonLeathers
I'd say there is a 30% chance of them winning. Zwald got the Aggie endorsement and seems to be reaching out to a lot of people. Webb isn't even in the running. —wl
Yeah seriously, I don't think there's much of a chance of Sergio Blanco winning. To the extent that Zwald was opposed to this whole court case deal, because he thinks it would be better for him politically for him to win a more sporting contest against Blanco. Apparently he doesn't know that, and thinks this is some kind of LEAD conspiracy. But LEAD has been trying to stay as far away from this as possible, with only a little covert help in favor of Blanco. Webb reminds me of myself in high school: running for office three times, always losing, and then running for class president. (I lost.) —BrentLaabs
2010-02-19 15:06:22 Blanco and Patel were one vote shy of being 1337... —PaulAmnuaypayoat
One more vote and they would have been automatically elected! That's gotta be in the bylaws somewhere, hidden among one of those reform packages that went on the ballot and everyone voted yes on but didn't read. - JonathonLeathers
2010-03-06 20:03:13 Here's what Andrew Jackson initially said about the Supreme Court "the decision of the supreme court has fell still born, and they find that they cannot coerce Georgia to yield to its mandate." —PrevinWitana