Posted Tuesday, March 8, 3:27 a.m.
Updated 4:05 a.m.
The Student Court rescheduled this week’s Student Association presidential run-off for March 23 and 24 following hours of deliberations that went into Tuesday morning.
The court ruled that if the election would be held this Wednesday and Thursday, the SA would “disenfranchise” Law School students who are on spring break this week. Presidential candidate Audai Shakour brought the case to the judicial body at 9 p.m. Monday, alleging that a Joint Elections Committee rule allowing Law School students to vote via absentee ballot was in contradiction of the election charter.
Law students were under the mistaken assumption that they could vote off campus via their e-mail account, the court found. They actually needed to receive permission from the Law School dean to cast absentee ballots, an action most did not undertake.
“Law students failed to receive recognition of absentee status from their dean. Due to the dean’s lack of recognition, they were, by consequence, disenfranchised,” Chief Judge Caity Baxter wrote in the court’s ruling, which The Hatchet obtained at 3:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Before the general election, the JEC issued an advisory opinion allowing all law students to vote absentee over spring break week through a Law School e-mail account. Shakour, who was represented by senior Lee Roupas, argued that the new policy contradicts Section 38 of the JEC charter that requires approval from the dean of the Law School for off-campus voting.
“I don’t know where the JEC has the authority to make up rules like this that specifically contradict other sections of the governing charter,” Roupas said in front of the five-member court.
Both the JEC and Shakour agreed that pushing the run-off to a later date – which would not coincide with the Law School’s spring break or next week’s undergraduate vacation – would remedy the problem.
Traverse, who carried the Law School vote in last week’s election, said Monday night that he was opposed to delaying the run-off. Traverse was the top finisher in the general election, but did not meet the 40 percent vote threshold to avoid a run-off with Shakour.
“I think the elections should happen when they are scheduled to,” Traverse said after the court heard Monday night’s court case. “There should be blanket absentee voting for the Law School students, that was the last ruling by the JEC and the one that makes the most sense.”
Traverse and executive vice president-elect Morgan Corr, who are a part of the Coalition for Reform slate, face four more violations that could boot the former from the election and the latter from his elected position. They are both three away from being restricted from the SA elections; their alleged infractions involve unlawful campaign expenditures and abuse of power.
Last night, the JEC was supposed to decide on the infractions, but delayed deliberations until Tuesday evening due to the court meeting. If Traverse is removed from the election, the third-place finisher in last week’s election, Jon Ostrower, would take his place in the run-off.