Wednesday, December 24, 2008
The advisory opinion concerning the recall election came down. Results:
1) Physical polling locations are required, at least at the dining commons. (The opinion itself seems to argue that they are also required at the residence halls, but I think this was a misread of the requirement, which is that they are only required at the dining commons of the residence halls.) This is the most significant result, and gives the Elections Council a much harder job.
2) Since the Senate can, conceivably, pull an Elections Council out of its ass in the three weeks of prep time the ASUC has to put together an election, the current rules which allow the positions to be vacant are constitutional.
3) The Judicial Council decided to say that:
a recall election is a proposition in that it is presented as a petition to the Senate and is a yes or no question which is binding on the ASUC. Therefore all campaign rules which apply to propositions shall apply to recall elections.The conclusion I draw from this, with the non-initiative petition process, is that the recall is not an initiative but is a proposition, and the ASUC should use the proposition rules. I think the legal basis of this conclusion is quite weak, which I may go into in a later post, but it's probably the best they could do with what they had.
The punchline is that campaign rules apply, as if the proponents of the recall are the proponents. That is, if the proponents get five censures, the recall is disqualified, and Moghtader keeps his seat. As I noted before, as far as I can tell, there is no analagous consequence for the opponents, so the opponents of the recall could probably violate campaign rules willy-nilly without meaningful consequence. (They can still be assessed censures, but I don't think anything happens if they get five)
4) The tabulation rules are the same, so we won't see the results until after the Tuesday after the election. The election ends on a Tuesday, so this means at least a week's delay.
5) Finally, I think the Judicial Council really drops the ball on the question of who's next in line, and someone may need to file an appeal:
Title IV, Article XV, Section 15.5.2 of the By-Laws states that "a candidate is elected to a seat if all votes have been transferred and s/he has accrued at least a quota of votes." As the votes are not considered final until all votes have been transferred and the required number of Senators have achieved the quota, the person who has the most votes after all votes have been transferred in order to have 20 candidates reach a quota is the "the person receiving the greatest number of votes."Of course, it's never the case that 20 candidates reach quota. Many Senators become Senators because all but 20 candidates were eliminated, not because they reached quota. As a result, after all votes are transferred, no other candidate has any votes, and hence it's an all-way tie at 0.
Meaning? I'm not entirely sure. Everyone enters the Senate? No one does? In the election, if there are 21 Senators left, and the last two have tied votes, both are eliminated, and there are only 19 winners. There's also a vacancy, though, which raises exactly the same question as this does. As usual, this is something I've pointed out to the ASUC for two years in a row, so I guess I'll claim my "I told you so" rights.
That said, it isn't necessarily an "error with regard to a conclusion of law." Can it be appealed because their result doesn't actually resolve the issue? I suppose you can argue that since they inaccurately said that all 20 Senators need to reach quota, that's an error, but is it in regard to a conclusion of law?
I could file an appeal, if folks want me to. Since it's an advisory opinion, I suppose the ASUC could just ignore it, too, since it's nonbinding, though that would invite another hearing if someone felt they had something to gain from choosing a particular succession scheme.
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