Apr 302008
 
Authors: J. David McSwane

The lead petitioners of the recent student government presidential election withdrew an appeal Wednesday that threatened to force another election and remove the president-elect and vice president-elect from office.

Student Estevan Jaimes, the primary petitioner, pulled the appeal before the Associated Students of CSU Supreme Court, saying it was an effort to “address procedural errors that occurred” during the campaign period.

But Taylor Smoot, ASCSU president-elect, and Emily Laue, ASCSU Election Manager, say the concerns could have been addressed without an all-out appeal of the election, which they called “a damaging event.”

“This entire process was emotionally draining on all parties involved,” Laue said after the hearing. “I don’t need to stick up for myself.”

Jaimes, a former ASCSU presidential contender, and his co-petitioners accused Laue and the Elections Committee of “blatant negligence and disregard (for the constitution)” and Elections Code in handling the campaign finance report for Smoot and Quinn Girrens, vice president-elect.

The elections appeal charged that the Elections Committee Committee “defied the ASCSU Constitution” in docking the market value of a free concert Smoot and Girrens hosted on the plaza last month to garner voter support – an expenditure that Jaimes says should have placed their campaign beyond the $2,000 campaign spending cap, effectively ousting them from the campaign.

Both Smoot and Laue drafted counter appeals denying the alleged improprieties.

“I feel that Emily Laue did a wonderful job … I do feel that the Elections Committee did a wonderful job,” Smoot said, calling the appeal of the election “wrong and unprofessional.”

Jaimes’ appeal was a follow-up to an earlier appeal by Edward Modec, a former ASCSU Supreme Court chief justice, whose appeal was dismissed by the Supreme Court because he wasn’t technically considered a student by the ASCSU Constitution.

The Constitution stipulates that only students enrolled in six credits and who are paying full-time student fees can submit appeals. Although Modec is paying full-time fees, he’s only enrolled in three credit hours, after withdrawing from another class.

“This is the sloppiest I’ve ever seen the elections run,” Modec told the Collegian earlier this month. “Based on all the gross violations by the Election Committee . at this point, the election is invalid.”

Modec, a co-petitioner on Jaimes’ appeal, conceded to Laue and Smoot Wednesday but urged “a massive re-evaluation of the (ASCSU) Constitution.”

Constitutional questions were raised when the Supreme Court earlier this month dismissed the appeal filed by Modec, an ASCSU member for the past four years. And all parties involved – Modec, Smoot, Laue, Jaimes and the ASCSU Supreme Court – agreed that Elections Code needs to be revamped.

“There are holes in the Elections Code that need to be fixed,” Laue said. “I wish (Jaimes and Modec) had come to me first.”

Smoot vowed to form an ad hoc committee to review questions raised in the ASCSU documents as well as the appeal process itself.

“This has been an obstacle for ASCSU,” Smoot said. “We’re going to be able to get through a lot next year. This obstacle is strengthening CSU.”

Editor-in-Chief J. David McSwane can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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