ASUC Elections Council approves voting period extension for elections

Photo of ASUC Elections table
Matt Gibson/File
After a technical difficulty made the ASUC elections online ballot unavailable for an hour Monday morning, the ASUC Elections Council discussed approving a voting period extension. To guarantee that as many students are able to vote as possible, Temporary Rule No. 2020/2021-05 was created and then unanimously approved by the Elections Council to extend the voting period by an hour to 1 a.m. Thursday.

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Following the commencement of ASUC elections, the ASUC Elections Council virtually gathered Monday evening to discuss the approval of a voting period extension.

The voting period of elections was initially set to occur from 12:01 a.m. Monday to 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, according to elections prosecutor Joshua Kay. Due to a technical difficulty, however, the online ballot was unavailable from 12:01-1 a.m. Monday.

Posing as a conflict with the Elections Council’s goal to ensure that as many students vote as possible, Temporary Rule No. 2020/2021-05 was created to extend the voting period by an hour to 1 a.m. Thursday, Kay said.

“A lot of people start voting around or after midnight, which is excellent that they’re so excited for the elections,” Kay said during the meeting. “But because we had this technical issue, this temporary rule will make sure that we don’t shorten anyone of an hour of voting time.”

Kay then opened up a discussion for Elections Council members and other attendees of the meeting to share their thoughts on the temporary rule.

Zoe Hayes, assistant chair of the ASUC Judicial Council, noted that section 2.3.1 of the ASUC Bylaws Series 4103 states that online voting may be disabled for “urgent maintenance purposes” between 12:01-6 a.m.

While Hayes said the temporary rule is a “good idea,” Hayes added that the bylaws indicate that the occurrence of technical difficulties is allowed, and the voting period extension does not seem to be necessary.

In response, chief legal officer Athalia Djuhana emphasized the importance of the extension, regardless of bylaws.

“Even if repairs are allowed to happen during that period, you don’t expect them to happen when ballots are opening,” Djuhana said during the meeting. “I think we have nothing to lose in extending voting by one hour.”

In discussion of public notice of the extension, Elections Council chair Skyler-Myles Clinton Cobb noted the difficulty in changing the banner on the CalLink website to reflect the extended voting period, which is what students first see when accessing the online ballot.

Kay echoed these thoughts and said changing the banner may require too much work. He added that a letter about the temporary rule can be distributed to all campus organization leaders as a means of public notice.

Djuhana, however, said the Elections Council cannot move forward with public notice yet.

“In the past, temporary rules have had to be approved by the Judicial Council and this is no exception,” Djuhana said during the meeting. “We should wait until they approve it before we communicate this extension with anyone.”

The meeting ended with the Elections Council reaching a unanimous decision to approve the temporary rule, which will be forwarded to the Judicial Council for consideration, according to Clinton Cobb.

Contact Annika Kim Constantino at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @AnnikaKimC.