An attempt by the ASUC Elections Council to implement a temporary rule meant to prevent incentivized voting was rejected by the ASUC Judicial Council on Tuesday.
According to ASUC Attorney General Deepti Rajendran, concerns were brought to the Elections Council about specific candidates’ campaign staff and specific political parties running voting booths and providing material incentives for voting. The concern revolved around a CalGreeks voting booth set up in front of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, of which Student Action presidential candidate Connor Landgraf is a member.
Judicial Council Chair Erica Furer said in an email that Judicial Council proceedings happen in closed session and she could therefore not disclose any additional information aside from the fact that the temporary rule was not approved.
Rajendran said the rule that the Elections Council was attempting to implement was to prohibit voting booths from offering incentives, including food — which the CalGreeks booth was offering — before the Judicial Council approved those incentives.
According to Rajendran, the presidents of the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Council — which represent many campus fraternities and sororities — said at a meeting Monday night that the voting booth did not endorse any specific candidate, rather its purpose was to get the Greek community in general to vote.
She added that several precautions had already been taken, including taking down flyers endorsing specific candidates in the area and assuring that people involved in campaigning were not a part of the voting booth.
“After our meeting I think we came to a good understanding of each other and a good way to proceed with the election,” Rajendran said.
SQUELCH! senator and presidential candidate Noah Ickowitz said he brought concerns including the booth’s location and the food incentives to the Elections Council. Ickowitz said he was not against incentivized voting, but that having a voting booth in front of a fraternity house of one of the candidates “has its flaws.”
He added that he respected the council’s decision but that he would have “interpreted it differently.”
Interfraternity Council President David Blanchard said in an email that at the meeting Monday night he told the Elections Council that the CalGreeks booth would not be in violation of their rules.
He added that “trying to implement a rule concerning voting less than 24 hours before said voting begins is not sound practice, in my opinion.”
Additionally, ASUC Solicitor General Erin Delaney said that at the meeting on Monday, both Blanchard and Panhellenic President Tiffany Kirkland confirmed that they felt the proposed rule specifically targeted the Greek community.
Delaney also said there was not an adequate amount of time to deal with the issue and that it needed to be worked on in the future.
Courtney Moulds covers student government.