Do UA students deserve another elections cycle of undisclosed rules, violations doled out at the whim of the Elections Commissioner, repeated re-hashings of what rules means in the ASUA Supreme Court? Should presenting a free, fair election for student representatives include over-broad clauses that allow the Elections Commissioner undefined, unchecked power? The 2012 Elections Commission seems to think so — the few changes made to the first released draft of the 2012 Elections Code after it was considered by the Senate, the Wildcat editorial board, and this site include the following (the current draft of the Code here as a pdf):
The Elections Commissioner will have the discretion to determine whether the warning or correction system of enforcement is being abused by a candidate. To address this concern, the commissioner shall have the discretion to [sic] wave a warning or opportunity for correction to directly issue a strike.
Though whether the Commissioner can shake her hand a violation isn’t really of legal interest here, the Commissioner’s power to waive a candidate’s right to correct procedure as stipulated by these governing documents certainly is.
As far as we mere voters have seen, there is no mechanism for checks on the Elections Commissioner. If the Elections Commissioner has the ability to ignore the candidate’s ability to correct a reported strike or receive a warning before doling out strikes at her (or his) discretion, why have the language that allows warnings and corrections at all? The small acquiescence to free, fair elections is undermined by inserting a clause that allows the absolute power of the Commissioner.
The discretion of the Commissioner as employed in this clause is completely without a formal mechanism for checking that power. In the event that the candidate or anyone else believes the candidate’s right to a warning or ability to correct and alleged violation has been wrongfully waived by the Elections Commissioner, the only recourse is to appeal the violation (I think — last year it was disqualification they were appealing) with the ASUA Supreme Court. This is a tedious and logistically complicated process, given that the Court is made up of James E Rogers College of Law students. In addition, if last year’s violation proceedings are any indication, the Court further favors the discretion of the Election Commissioner. Should the Election Commissioner wield his or her power in a manner not everyone agrees with, there is no mechanism in place for dealing with the dramatic power allowed by this late-added clause. The Senate would do well to consider this factor before they decide whether to approve the document as it now stands.