Student Government Association unanimously ratifies 2009 elections

By Nick Bush

voteThe SGA Coordinating Council voted unanimously on Tuesday, Oct. 6 to ratify the 2009 Senate elections. At the same time, the Council withheld from ratifying the election’s second referendum question regarding online elections, due to the wording differing from what students signed on petitions last year.

According to Speaker Modesto Montero, who moderated the meeting, there was legal precedent for ratifying parts of an election and excluding portions of the results. Montero pointed to the 1997-1998 SGA election, in which the Coordinating Council voted to exclude a portion of the results while ratifying the majority of the election.

“There were obvious issues with the wording of question two,” said Chancellor of Elections Chris Faulkner. Despite the referendum’s exclusion from the election ratification, there remains little doubt that online voting will be passed by the SGA in some form in the near future. The student body has overwhelmingly endorsed the idea, voting by a margin of 81 percent for referendum question two.

“This is the year [online voting] is going to happen,” said Montero. “It just has to be done right. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was voted on before the end of [2009]. I doubt there is a single senator who isn’t in support of online elections in some form, but since the process started there have been legitimate concerns being voiced about how to securely move online. It’s going to take time, but we will get it done.”

The ratification of the election took place while a number of complaints from write-in candidate Brad DeFlumeri were still pending review by the Student Judiciary. DeFlumeri’s complaint alleges numerous violations of the SGA election procedure, including failure to provide candidates with certified copies of the SGA Constitution, and a lack of elections commissioners staffing polling stations while voting was underway last week.

DeFlumeri could not be reached for comment in time for publication.

“According to [Student Legal Services], it is okay to ratify elections before the Judiciary conference takes place,” said Faulkner during his presentation at Tuesday’s meeting.

The Student Judiciary could possibly meet the evening of Oct. 8 to review DeFlumeri’s complaints. The Student Judiciary, chaired by Chief Justice Robert Weed, is tasked with determining the constitutionality of actions taken by the Executive and Legislative branches of the SGA, including the elections’ process.

On Tuesday, the SGA Coordinating Council also voted unanimously to amend last week’s official election report, which suggested that Northeast Residential Area has two senate seats, when in reality, has three.

Nick Bush can be reached at [email protected]