The Student Association found itself in a complicated legislative battle this week after a bill regarding candidate registration requirements was passed by the senate and vetoed by SA President Vishal Aswani – spurring a sequence of events that could potentially delay the upcoming elections.
The body voted to overturn Aswani’s veto of a bill to end signature requirements, agreeing again that candidates should not need to collect hundreds of signatures to run in the upcoming election. Jordan Chapman, Aswani’s vice president for judicial and legislative affairs, then filed a Student Court case to reverse the senate’s override of Aswani’s veto early Wednesday morning, saying their decision was unconstitutional.
Though two-thirds of the senators present at Tuesday night’s meeting voted to overturn Aswani’s decision, Chapman says two-thirds of the entire Senate body must vote to overturn the veto, making the body’s decision null and void.
Chapman filed the complaint against Executive Vice President Kyle Boyer and Alex Fitzsimmons, the secretary of the SA.
Chapman cited a previous SA court ruling, Jenkins v. Daleo, which set the precedent that two-thirds of the entire senate body must vote to overturn a veto. He requested that the case be expedited as it falls directly in the middle of the candidate registration period.
The case will be heard Thursday morning at 10 a.m. and a decision on whether the override stands will be made shortly after, according to Student Court rules and procedures.
“This suit was not filed with any malcontent toward the SA Senate or its membership, but in order to ensure a fair election,” Aswani wrote in a statement.
SA Sen. Logan Dobson, CCAS-U and sponsor of the original bill to eliminate signature requirements, said despite the impending Student Court case, he is positive the override will stand.
“There is ambiguity on both sides of the issue constitutionally, and not enough evidence to overturn law,” Dobson said, adding that he is “disappointed that a suit was filed by Vishal.”
Because this case is taking place in the middle of the candidate registration period, the Student Court has the ability to extend the registration period in order to make it fair for all students wishing to run for office in the SA.
As of right now, candidates need to collect signatures in order to be placed on the ballot because of an injunction from the SA court. If the ruling is ultimately overturned in the court case, students who did not collect signatures could have their candidacy voided.
Jason Lifton, a sophomore running for EVP said, “it is ridiculous that they are changing the rules mid-registration process.”
Boyer said he is disappointed with the impending court case.
“I would be lying if I said I was not incredibly disappointed,” Boyer, an SA presidential candidate, said in an e-mail to the Senate. “I offered to reverse my decision, which would offer the same result – a registration period which now by default will have signature requirements – but the Executive insisted on having a court case.”