Voter rights violated in Fall Quarter 2019 ASUCD elections
The maintenance of free and fair elections is of utmost importance to all members of the Editorial Board. We are beyond disappointed with how this quarter’s ASUCD elections have played out so far, and our faith in ASUCD has been irreparably damaged.
Any misstep during an election is cause for concern. At this point in time, allegations levied against the integrity of the Fall Quarter ASUCD elections have called their entire legitimacy into question.
This is not a partisan issue. This is not BASED or Thrive or liberal or conservative. We are looking beyond the toxicity and back-and-forth bickering that has plagued this association for far too long. This time around, political influence and unfair elections processes have marred our elections. We are witnessing the breakdown of good governance in ASUCD.
It was bad enough when there was no official elections chair nor official members of the Elections Committee. Considering the circumstances, we see that having the ASUCD Vice President serve as elections chair was probably the best option, as was appointing ex-officio members of the Senate to serve as committee members. Nonetheless, this situation is not normal nor should it be treated as such. The only option for fair elections is to have people serve in these roles who have been thoroughly vetted and duly appointed.
The icing on the cake, though, was the Election Committee’s failure to include the ballot measures for four proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot early Tuesday. The committee simply said this was a “procedural oversight.” We have to laugh. This was a denial of voting rights to a swath of ASUCD’s constituent members — the students whom the association is built to serve. Not only was this against the Student Bill of Rights, but failing to include these ballot measures directly contradicts the ASUCD bylaws. Asking students who had incorrect ballots to vote via email, tying their votes to their name, is a direct violation of their right to a secret ballot.
For those affected students, we are sorry that the Elections Committee has not properly upheld your rights.
This is not the first time an ASUCD or a UC student government’s elections have been marred by controversy. In the spring of 2017, ASUCD’s voter turnout was so abysmal in a special election that a measly 198 students voted. In fall of 2018, when only six people ran for six open Senate seats (ensuring their election to office), voter turnout was so poor that fewer than 7% of students voted. ASUCD is not the only UC student government where intense partisanship has affected good governance. Last year at UC Berkeley, when ASUC’s Judicial Council retroactively disqualified a number of elected students for campaign violations, ASUC’s student government was thrown into chaos inciting a chain reaction of official resignations.
Finally, the day before polls were set to close and a transparent and open tabulations event was set to be held, ASUCD elections officials abruptly canceled the event, citing “academic commitments.” The Elections Committee did not respond to three requests for comment on this matter and failed to explain how this is permissible under ASUCD code. This is an assault on transparency.
ASUCD: Get your act together. We, the students, elect you to conduct business in a fair, proper and ethical way. You have consistently failed to conduct our affairs in a way that makes us proud to be members of the association. Stop making ASUCD your political science experiment and focus on delivering the promises you made us when you were elected.
Written by: The Editorial Board