Petition Requests Recall of SGA Elections, Elections Code Amendments

Angela Jiang (19C) has sent an online petition to the Constitutional Council that requests a recall of the Spring 2018 undergraduate elections and amendments to the Code of Elections. The petition has been signed by more than 300 people as of Sunday.

Jiang said she started the petition on Friday after reading a Wheel article describing allegations of electoral misconduct against Student Government Association (SGA) presidential candidates Dwight Ma (17Ox, 19C) and Mario Karras (17Ox, 19B). Jiang expressed concerns about the Elections Board’s unprofessionalism and “lack of public statements” in handling the cases. The Elections Board cleared Ma and Karras of the electoral misconduct allegations on Friday.

The petition calls for the Constitutional Council “to recall or institute a temporary halt to the entire 2018-2019 undergraduate elections process” and create “a referendum to contest Code of Elections, Part III, Article 2 to always allow a space for ‘No Confidence’ or the option for a write-in candidate for every candidacy, regardless of the number of candidates running.” If the Constitutional Council does not fulfill those requests, the petition asks for an option for students to cancel their votes. Currently, a “no confidence” option is only included on ballots with one candidate.

Chief Justice of the Constitutional Council Talia Burstein (18C) did not confirm the complaint has been filed as of Sunday at 1:39 p.m. The Constitutional Council is the highest court of SGA and holds original and appellate jurisdiction on all issues and matters of policy, according to its website.

The Elections Board was not aware of the petition until attendees of the Elections Board hearing on Friday for Ma and Karras brought it to the Board’s attention. Facing pressure from the petition and students at the hearing, the Elections Board announced after polls closed at 8 p.m. on Friday that the SGA president race results were invalid and there would be a re-vote. The Board reversed its decision about four hours later after SGA Speaker of the Legislature and Senior Representative William Palmer (18C) contacted Elections Board Chair Betty Zhang (20C) and said that re-votes are not permitted without SGA’s permission and are granted only in extreme circumstances.

Ma and fellow SGA presidential candidate Elias Neibart (20C) are set to face each other in a run-off, with polls opening on Sunday at 8 p.m. and closing on Monday at 8 p.m.

 

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