Election Quibbles

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Feb 232004
 
Authors: Ben Bleckley

The Associated Students of CSU Senate and its judicial branch

are in disagreement concerning amendments to the 2004 election

rules. These disagreements allegedly led to threats of impeachment

from supreme court justices.

Jason Huitt, speaker pro tempore of the senate, said supreme

court justices approached both him and Marisa Adelman before the

ASCSU meeting last Wednesday where the election rules bill was

introduced.

“(Justice Brian Hardouin) informed me that if he were in my

shoes, he would remove his support from the bill,” said Adelman, a

senator for the College of Natural Science. “They think that

consequences will come from problems that are likely to arise when

the students find out.”

Adelman said she heard Hardouin speaking with another senator

about the bill later that evening.

“I overheard him say that impeachment for supporters of the bill

was a possibility,” she said. “It certainly wasn’t a friendly

confrontation. It was a ‘you need to be running from this. We don’t

support this and you shouldn’t either.'”

Both Hardouin and Sara Stieben, chief justice of the supreme

court, declined to comment on these statements.

The amendments would affect spending limits for candidates.

Right now, although the spending limit is $3,000, candidates can

receive and spend up to $12,000 in donations, Huitt said. The bill

proposes setting the limit at $3,000 regardless of the money’s

source.

Last year, a bill concerning a candidate’s grade point average

was passed after students began submitting applications to run for

office. The ASCSU Supreme Court deemed this passage after election

packets had been made available to be unconstitutional.

For this reason, the court advised the ASCSU Senate Wednesday

that any bill regarding election rules passed after packets were

available could receive a similar ruling if brought before the

Court.

“Both deal with making changes to election bylaws,” Stieben

said.

Lisa Doosenbury, a justice on the ASCSU Supreme Court, said the

problem was not with the bill’s content but with it being passed

after election packets were made available.

“According to our ruling from last year, we ruled that once the

applications and packets were published for candidates to fill out

to declare their candidacy, that you could not change the bylaws at

that time,” Stieben said.

Some senators believe this bill is different.

“This year, there is no documentation (available) mentioning

anything about the spending limit or how to treat donations,” Huitt

said. Last year, applicants were told they needed only a 2.0 GPA.

This was raised to a 2.25 after the 2.0 requirement was already on

the applications.

This year the election rules have not yet been made available to

applicants, but applications have been.

Whether this fact changes the legal nature of the amendments has

yet to be seen.

“That would have to be determined through a case. Somebody has

to ask us that question,” Stienben said. “Technically we can’t rule

specifically on that issue unless it’s brought before us.”

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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