Voter booths set up in fraternities, sororities may be against ASUC bylaws

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Jasmany Flores/File

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Two booths for ASUC election voting, established in two separate fraternities, may have contributed to Student Action’s majority win in the 2018 elections — but these booths may have violated ASUC bylaws.

Interfraternity Council, or IFC, president Jon Jay said in an email addressed to all IFC members that there were three Cal Greek voting booths set up at two fraternities — Sigma Nu and Kappa Delta Rho — and one sorority, Sigma Kappa.

“Vote at asuc.org/elections or in person at the Cal Greeks Voter Booth at Sigma Nu, (Kappa Delta Rho), or at Sigma Kappa from 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM Monday through Wednesday,” Jay said in the email.

While the voting booth at Sigma Kappa was publicized, the booth itself “never came to fruition,” according to Student Action party co-chair Paul Iskajyan. He added that while the voter booth at Sigma Nu operated on all three days of voting, the voting booth at Kappa Delta Rho only operated for one day.

These voting booths may be illegal, according to ASUC election bylaw 4103 Section 1, which gives details on where on-campus voting booths can be set up and how they should be run. The bylaw also states that the Elections Council must annually approve procedures related to on-campus polling.

Shirin Moti, ASUC Elections Council chair, also previously told The Daily Californian that setting up voting booths in fraternities and sororities is not allowed.

Both Jay and Moti declined to comment for this article.

There is no bylaw that states that these voting booths are not allowed, according to Iskajyan, who added that fraternity and sorority houses do not count as “on-campus.”

“Members of the Greek community can set up these booths to advocate for civic involvement in their own community,” Iskajyan said in an email.

Iskajyan said in an email that the Elections Council must clarify the bylaw language about voter booths, in response to Moti’s previous comment on the illegality of voting booths on Greek land.

Voting booths at Greek houses have been “common practice” for at least the “four years (he has) been involved in ASUC elections,” according to Iskajyan. He also alleged that other groups, such as the Berkeley Student Cooperative, also arrange voting booths at their houses.

Berkeley Student Cooperative, or BSC, president Zach Gamlieli said, however, that BSC does not organize or set up any voting booths. He added that if individuals at co-ops did so, it was not organized by BSC.

According to Iskajyan, the voter booths were used by about 20 students across the three days of voting, and he does not know who those 20 voted for. He added that 20 students is a small number compared to the large margins by which Student Action won executive and senate seats.

“Greek life has been a core (Student Action) community, similar to Co-Ops for Calserve,” Iskajyan said in an email. “I’m positive we retained their support this year but obviously, we do not win 11 senate seats and 3 executives off of Greek life.”

Contact Mariam Zagub at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @MZagub.