Student Court dismisses SA senator’s complaint against JEC

The Student Court has dismissed an SA senator’s complaint that the body that runs SA elections discriminated against some students when postponing elections to early April.

SA Sen. Jake Corsi, CCAS-G, filed a complaint last week alleging the Joint Elections Commission violated the SA constitution and Student Code of Conduct and disenfranchised international, low-income and rural students who might lack online voting tools when rescheduling elections for later this semester, rather than to when students return to campus in the fall. The court unanimously denied and dismissed Corsi’s claim, stating that his request fell outside of the court’s jurisdiction and did not follow the proper appeal process outlined in the court’s governing documents.

“While we are aware of the magnitude of the occasion and the murkiness of our caselaw when it comes to issuing permanent injunctions, we cannot justify an injunction that would work such a disservice on the SA electorate and the functionality of the SA altogether,” the opinion, which The Hatchet obtained Sunday, states.

Corsi alleged in his complaint that the JEC violated a specific section of the constitution that outlines JEC regulations, according to the opinion. But the court said the COVID-19 pandemic has created an uncertain and constantly changing environment, which warrants a more broad interpretation of which actions classify as a constitutional violation, the opinion states.

The court would be overstepping its jurisdiction if it came to a decision about Corsi’s claims because his original complaint was too specific about how the JEC defied SA guidelines, according to the opinion.

The court also held that Corsi did not file his complaint within the timeframe to appeal JEC decisions as laid out in the SA constitution, the opinion states.

A complaint against the JEC must be filed within 10 days of a decision the body makes, but Corsi filed his complaint 12 days after the JEC announced new election dates, the opinion states.

“In this moment of national crisis, we choose not to dramatically overextend our power and ignore the stringent mandates of the SA constitution,” the opinion states. “This court has provided narrow holdings in respect of the separation of powers inherent in the SA government and refuses to reach the merits of the complaint at issue here for that reason.”

Corsi did not return multiple requests for comment.

JEC Chairman Kyle Piekarski said the JEC is “confident” all students will have equal access to participate in the elections on April 8 and 9.

“The JEC would like to thank the court for its rapid decision in this matter,” Piekarski said. “The primary goal of the JEC is to defend the democratic rights of students and candidates.”

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