Democracy is an ideal that has guided the United States for more than two centuries. Even at the student government level, the ballot should be sacrosanct, which is what makes problems surrounding the ASUC Class Pass referendum so disconcerting.
The referendum, which would have extended the campus’s agreement with AC Transit for seven more years, had egregious mistakes on the ballot that caused the ASUC Judicial Council to unanimously disqualify it on Thursday. Of the four violations the council found, the most glaring was a mistake in the ballot language during a portion of the first day of voting that stated the pass was for three years — not seven.
ASUC President Vishalli Loomba and Graduate Assembly President Bahar Navab indeed went through the proper channels to void the referendum by filing charges against the Elections Council chair. Even though they were strong proponents of the referendum, it was still their responsibility to amend the error, and they did just that. The Judicial Council likewise made the right call in nullifying the referendum.
While this fire has been extinguished, there is a greater flame. When the ballot language was approved, it was correct. We must ask how the language got changed on the actual ballot and where those involved in the process failed. In the end, months of work spent on the referendum amounted to nothing.
This was not even the only problem with the 2012 elections. Controversy and legal issues have continued to surround the V.O.I.C.E. Initiative even after it passed, and some candidate names and parties were also incorrect on the ballot. There was even mention at the April 11 senate meeting of invalidating the entire election. We ask future election councils to use this year’s election as a model of what not to do.
Before the election, The Daily Californian’s Senior Editorial Board recommended that students vote “no” on Class Pass. While the outcome of the referendum has the same effect, we wish it was a majority of students saying so instead of the Judicial Council.
Now the incoming executives must use the coming year to find a more suitable agreement for the students. But if ballot problems continue to plague ASUC elections in 2013, there won’t be a next year for the Class Pass.