Staff Editorial: Just count the votes

The Student Court ruled correctly early Friday morning in tossing out several frivolous violations charged against Student Association presidential candidate Roger Kapoor despite a process that was overflowing with unnecessary melodrama. After the court’s ruling, the Joint Elections Committee attempted to reverse its pattern of poor judgment Friday when it also wisely dismissed a multitude of spurious complaints.

By Sunday evening, though, the JEC and the court were yet again displaying a stunning lack of foresight in their decisions. Rather than work toward the goal of resolving SA election rigmarole quickly and efficiently, the court delayed until 4:35 p.m. Sunday to lift an injunction that prevented vote counting. Once the injunction was lifted, the JEC announced at 10:23 p.m. that they would not count the votes until the following Friday. By midnight, the committee members – responding to pressure from SA President David Burt brought about by Executive Vice President Cathy Resler’s threat to file a suit – changed their tune and set a target of Wednesday for finishing ballot counting.

Both groups acted tremendously irresponsibly by delaying an end to election antics. The court should have immediately lifted the injunction when it ruled early Friday morning, allowing the JEC to count the ballots over the weekend. The JEC’s six-hour delay between the injunction release and making a decision Sunday is similarly ridiculous. With most of the votes already scanned by machines, only the write-in ballots needed counting. Final tabulations from the scanners only take minutes to obtain, and the JEC could have announced students’ new SA representatives by Sunday night, if not Monday or Tuesday.

In a process that eerily resembles the November fiasco in Florida, this election continues to drag on with no end in sight. According to sources inside the JEC, even more complaints are poised to be filed before Wednesday, and Resler apparently is going ahead with her suit.

The time has come to stop the madness. The last thing GW needs is another Student Court suit. The JEC must count the votes as quickly as possible. Burt was right to exercise his authority for a quicker count, but tabulating the ballots Wednesday is clearly not soon enough. The JEC charter mandates a count within 24 hours after the election. The court and the JEC have largely abandoned that requirement. The committee members signed on for this job; they should stop delaying and do their duty.

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