Student court rules against ‘A Clean Slate’

The Student Court ruled unanimously against a claim from a senatorial candidate on Thursday.

Candidate and current Sen. Ben Traverse (U-CCAS) argued that he and 11 other members of a “Clean Slate” should be allowed to put the phrase next to their names on the ballot.

The Joint Election Committee, which oversees the SA election, ruled by a 3-1 margin on Feb. 13 that the phrase was not allowed to be on the ballot because it is not within the SA constitution to allow ticket or slate names to appear on the ballot.

Traverse, on behalf of the “A Clean Slate” ticket, argued Thursday evening that having the phrase appear on the ballot would not be in breach of the constitution and that the JEC’s original ruling on the matter was unconstitutional. After a writ of certiorari was filed Wednesday night, the issue was brought to the SA court on Thursday.

The JEC argued that the SA constitution only allows “titles, first names, middle names, initials or nicknames” to appear on the ballot upon request according to Section 30 of the JEC charter, an amendment Traverse proposed to the SA last year.

The JEC argued that the provisions do not allow for a ticket name to appear on the ballot.

Traverse argued that the “A Clean Slate” phrase is a nickname that “describes a candidate’s membership on the slate.” He said that “A Clean Slate” falls under the definition of a nickname, and is within the guidelines set forth by the JEC.

The JEC also offered an argument on behalf of all non-ticketed candidates.

“Those candidates without a ticket affiliation will not have the name recognition as those that do, which could be a disadvantage,” said Margaret Baker, who represented the JEC.

SA judges raised the question of whether the “Clean Slate” ticket was a nickname for the candidates or a nickname for the ticket that the candidates were running on. Traverse cited an interview with The Hatchet in which the Chair of the JEC, John Plack, specifically acknowledged “A Clean Slate” as a nickname.

“There was a misquote in The Hatchet, ‘A Clean Slate’ is not a nickname or a title that is allowed to appear on the ballot,” said Plack, who told the Hatchet last week that he wasn’t misquoted.

Plack explained the reasoning behind the charter not allowing ticket names on the ballot.

“We already provide a biography where candidates are able to state their affiliation with any group,” Plack said.

Traverse said everyone on the “A Clean Slate” ticket has been campaigning under that slate and now will not be able to be recognized for their affiliation in the election.

“It was an unfortunate ruling,” Traverse said. “But we still have a great campaign … we just will not be able to be recognized as ‘A Clean Slate’ on election day.”

While Traverse said that he does not believe the decision will affect the upcoming election, the matter could arise again in the future.

-Julie Gordon contributed to this report.

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