Technicality leaves disqualified, withdrawn candidates on ASUC election ballot

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Amanda Ramriez/Staff

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Two candidates have been eliminated from this year’s ASUC election — because of an ASUC bylaw, however, voters can still select them on their ballots.

The ASUC judicial council disqualified Nelson Ke, a campus freshman and former independent candidate for ASUC Senate, from the election April 3 after finding him guilty of filing “misleading” complaints against fellow independent candidate Andy Theocharous. Guutaa Regassa, a campus senior who ran as an independent candidate for president, dropped out of the race at the end of March.

The bylaw, ASUCBL 4105: Tallying of Votes, section 1.3, states that candidates’ names will remain on the ballot if they withdraw after the Point of No Return or are disqualified after the Mandatory Elections Meeting. This year’s Point of No Return, a meeting at which the ASUC elections council finalizes the order of candidates’ names on the ballot, occurred March 23. The Mandatory Elections Meeting, at which the Elections Council reviews election procedures with all candidates, occured three days before the Point of No Return meeting.

The bylaw also states that votes for these nonviable candidates are treated as if they did not occur. Instead, the voter’s lower preferences are shifted up one value.

“I myself was equally baffled when one of my former campaign team members notified me of the irregularity on the ballot.” Ke said in an email. “Surely he voted for me without further doubts. I can assure you that I have been utterly unaware of my presence (on the ballot) up to dinner time on April 9.”

Shirin Moti, the ASUC Elections Council chair, said that in previous years the council’s voting system, CalLink, made it difficult to make updates after the Point of No Return and Mandatory Elections Meeting. According to Moti, the deadline gives the council the time it needs to develop the ballot. But with updates to CalLink, Moti said the rule may be outdated.

“We might be looking to revise the bylaws,” Moti said. “We believe it was doable to remove their names without interfering with the rest of the process. Maybe in years past it wasn’t possible, but times change.”

Sam Levin covers student life. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @SamJLevin.