Temporary rule may be enacted to prevent incentivized ASUC voting

Andrew Kuo/Staff
Students vote at the ASUC elections booth in front of Sigma Phi Epsilon.

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A voting booth for the 2012 ASUC general election set up in front of a campus fraternity house has prompted the ASUC attorney general to push for a temporary rule that would prevent specific parties or candidates from running biased voting stations.

The CalGreeks voting booth is hosted on the lawn of Sigma Phi Epsilon — of which Student Action presidential candidate Connor Landgraf is a member — and is giving out free food and providing computers for voting on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week. The rule would effectively disallow anyone officially associated with any campaign, including Student Action, from running the event.

A voting booth that is not associated with a particular campaign cannot be regulated by the elections council, but the temporary rule would prevent campaigns from running their own stations with material incentives.

“This is to ensure that there aren’t any biased people running the voting booth,” said ASUC Attorney General Deepti Rajendran, adding that Student Action banners were taken down from the CalGreeks location.

The Sigma Phi Epsilon house borders Channing Circle — a central location for the Greek community. Originally, Jas Hora, the vice president of event programming for the Interfraternity Council and a campaign manager for Landgraf, was listed as a contact person on the Facebook event advertising the voting booth. But he was later removed from the event.

Under the temporary rule, if agents of a candidate or campaign are found to be involved in providing unapproved incentives, their party or candidate could be held accountable, pending an investigation by the attorney general. After a meeting with the elections council Monday, members running the CalGreeks event enacted measures to ensure that the voter booth will not be biased toward any candidate or party, according to Rajendran.

ASUC bylaws state that a temporary rule may be implemented by the elections council chair when an “urgent situation necessitates temporary additions … provided all candidates are affected equally.”  The rule cannot take effect until approved by a majority vote of the judicial council with at least three members present. Rajendran said early Monday afternoon that the judicial council had not yet approved the rule.

The CalGreeks booth has been held for at least the last three years, according to Tiffany Kirkland, president of the Panhellenic Council, which represents many campus sororities. Last year, the event was held at Sigma Alpha Epsilon and also gave out free food. Kirkland said the goal of the event is to mobilize the Greek community.

“One of the (affiliated) fraternities that has the largest lawn and the largest space is SigEp,” Kirkland said of this year’s event.

Chloe Hunt is the lead student government reporter.