In the wake of last year’s scandal-ridden Student Association elections, newly elected President Omar Woodard joined this page in calling for substantial reform in the charter of the Joint Elections Commission – the body charged with overseeing SA elections. Citing an inability to comprise a new charter in time, Woodard asked the Senate to approve last year’s charter for use in the upcoming elections. Given the irregularities bred in last year’s election environment, the continued use of the old JEC charter is a danger to fair elections this time around.
The JEC showed its true ineptitude last year when individuals raised substantial allegations charging that current Executive Vice President Anyah Dembling paid membership fees for students in the College Democrats and College Republicans so they could vote on her behalf in the influential groups’ endorsement proceedings. The JEC – packed with Dembling allies – itself bungled the investigation by postponing a hearing on the matter until after the election. After a cursory hearing, the JEC dismissed the charges; justifying the move by saying the JEC charter did not stipulate rules against bribery.
While the individuals Woodard appoints to the JEC are very important, it is imperative that rules exist to ensure fair elections. Last year, an overall uplifting campaign was sullied by impropriety. The SA cannot afford another scandalous election season. The Senate should move with haste to approve the revised charter to ensure students retain confidence in their student government.