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Airing grievances

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MARCH 23, 2012

The ASUC has for decades embodied real-world politics more than many student governments on other campuses. This emulation, though, carries with it the best and worst of partisan factionalism. The senate made the right decision in allowing voters to cast their ballots over AirBears this year. However, concerns that the move will increase instances of candidate dishonesty, while understandable, are not directed at the real problem.

In a split vote on Nov. 14 — with Student Action voting in favor and CalSERVE voting against — the senate passed a bill that permits Internet voting on the campus’s WiFi network. What this change does is bring the elections bylaws up to speed with now-commonplace mobile technology by abolishing an archaic rule. What the change does not do is encourage cheating in and of itself. Still, some senators are right to believe that more rules violations may occur.

Two years ago, then-presidential candidate Noah Stern used a BlackBerry to vote on behalf of another student. Yes, similar situations can take place with greater ease this year as a result of the change. Candidates who decide to break the rules now have more avenues to approach voters in hopes of influencing their choices. Nevertheless, cheating has happened and will continue to happen in ASUC elections, regardless of how people can vote, over AirBears or otherwise.

Rather than seeking to uphold a worthless rule, the ASUC should attack the documented culture of cheating that has become so ingrained in the two dominant parties. Indeed, in years past, CalSERVE and Student Action leaders have met to discuss what campaign violations can be brought against the other party before agreeing which charges will actually be pursued. This tradition illustrates the institutionalized acceptance of rule bending lying at the heart of the AirBears contention.

The injustice is not that more students will be able to vote over campus WiFi — it’s that the game’s two biggest players have a history of agreeing that cheating is OK. ASUC officials and partisans must use the concerns highlighted by AirBears voting to crush the unscrupulous atmosphere that remains present in campus elections.

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MARCH 23, 2012