In this week’s ASUCD elections, a student filed a complaint against the Elections Committee for granting the usual 24-hour extension to executive candidates Sergio Blanco and Vishakha Patel. This complaint resulted in the court decision that Blanco and Patel should be removed from the ballot.
The elections committee refused to remove Blanco and Patel from the ballot, citing ASUCD bylaw 406F. However, the court’s initial decision calls into question its ability to function as a balanced entity.
The court reasoned the Elections Committee did not have the power beyond the bylaws that would allow them to grant the candidates an extension. However, the extension was a committee policy enacted last year. If there is fault with the policy it should have been resolved either before or after this election cycle.
Confronting the policy in the middle of the election is unjust. Blanco and Patel relied on the policy with the knowledge that it had been applied before and was acceptable to fall back on when the ID numbers on their petitions were found to be invalid.
Furthermore, the manner in which the court case was pursued strongly suggests a bias that a student court shouldn’t hold.
Although vice Court Justice Ryan Meyerhoff was a justice in the court in the last election when the policy was applied, this is the first time the court has taken issue with the 24-hour extension policy.
The student who filed the complaint, Daniel Golden, lives with Meyerhoff. Golden filed the complaint because Meyerhoff informed him of the use of the policy, Golden said. Otherwise he has no prior involvement with ASUCD. Although Meyerhoff recused himself from the case because of his relation to Golden, he still appears to be a key player.
In addition, should the court continue to pursue this case, it also must consider prior candidates – and perhaps current senators – who have benefited from the policy and not faced trial.
What’s more, the court made the decision to remove the Blanco/Patel ticket from the ballot, after the case had been active for only approximately one week. The hasty decision left out the voice of the candidates themselves – which may turn out to be a violation of due process on the court’s part.
If the court were truly “enforcing the constitution,” as Meyerhoff insisted, it would have waited to make their decision until Blanco and Patel testified, instead of making a decision that limit not only the candidates but the electorate as well.