Elections Commissioner Says Another Runoff Must Be Held for ASSU Executive

Posted by at 11:51PM

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This just in… Senate sources are telling me that, although Hershey Avula and Mondaire Jones have been certified as ASSU President and Vice President, the ASSU Elections Commissioner, Bernard Luis Fraga, said tonight that he is bound by the Constitution to hold another runoff vote between the Avula/Jones and Brett and Lakshmi slates.
The challenge springs from a Constitutional provision that provides for such a runoff when no executive slate is able to secure a majority of everyone who voted in the election. Because the election was so close and many voters did not select a choice for ASSU Executive (some suspect grad students who logged in only to vote on the Go Pass measure), the Avula/Jones slate does not have a majority of all those voting in the election, and therefore technically a new vote must be called. To clarify, the Avula/Jones slate did receive a majority from those who voted in the ASSU Executive category, but they did not receive a majority among the pool of voters that includes those who did not vote in the ASSU Executive category.
BUT (wow, I’m getting tired) a new runoff will not be held if two-thirds of both the Senate and the Graduate Student Council vote to overturn the Elections Commissioner. This evening, the Senate voted 12-1 to overturn, leaving the fate of the election in the hands of the GSC.
Even if the GSC concurs with the Senate and votes to overturn the Commissioner, supporters of Brett and Lakshmi may go forward with a Constitutional challenge based on the claim that the Constitution strictly mandates a majority of all those voting. However, the challenge would be politically weakened without the support of at least one of the governmental bodies, and the Constitutional Council would be less likely to vote to hold the runoff.


8 Responses to “Elections Commissioner Says Another Runoff Must Be Held for ASSU Executive”

  1. Anthony Sanchez says:

    Oh, petty politics, not even student government is immune.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It is important to note that the elections commissioner’s interpretation of the constitution is a literal one, and can be argued to not necessarily take into account the intent of the written words. It is based on this fact: that the constitution can be interpreted in several different ways. This is likely why the Senate likely overruled the elections commissioner’s proposal for a run-off. The Senate likely believed that Avula/Jones received the necessary mandate of the population in a close election, and because they won each round of the election and obtained a clear majority of those voting in the executive election they found no need for a run-off election. The Senate appears to have taken the more progressive stance of looking at the original intent of the Constitutional wording and by-laws, and it was not exactly controversial (seeing as the vote was 12-1-0 in favor of opposing the run-off). To assume a literal meaning of the words often ignores the actual purpose of the governing documents and we see this type of interpretation often with our Supreme Court. It is inaccurate to assume that the Constitution mandates the action the elections commissioner in this case, seeing as it is unprecedented and can be interpreted in several different ways.

  3. Dan says:

    Lest we forget who two of our ASSU senators are…

  4. Anonymous says:

    The elections commission does what it has to do. It follows the constitution exactly. On what grounds can anyone know what the “intent” was of the framers? Certainly the elections commission should not be guessing at intent.

  5. Framers says:

    The framers of the ASSU constitution are still around. We still talk to them on a regular basis, so there is no mystery. We do instant-runoff for a reason, and this is it :)

  6. Anonymous says:

    Seems like there’s a need for a non-partisan review board that looks at student gov elections, and fixes things once and for all

  7. Troy says:

    While I appreciate the idea, the Elections Commission is supposed to be exactly that. What defines non-partisan in our weird system, anyway?

  8. Troy says:

    While I appreciate the idea, the Elections Commission is supposed to be exactly that. What defines non-partisan in our weird system, anyway?


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