Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Court upholds election second time

Clearing its final hurdle Tuesday night, the Associated Students of Madison election results could be finalized as soon as this Monday evening.

The ruling of the final case filed against the Student Election Committee regarding the fall 2006 elections was released last night, with the Student Judiciary ruling in favor of SEC.

The University of Wisconsin Student Labor Action Coalition filed a complaint alleging that ASM provided limited locations and hours for students to vote in addition to a lack of adequate announcements regarding the election and an insufficient absentee ballot system — all of which narrowed student participation in the elections.


SLAC representative Mark Supanich said SJ's decision was fair, but based on the justices' interpretation of the laws.

"I respect the SJ decision on the ruling; it's a good thing that [the elections] will be certified and that [SEC] followed all of the election rules," Supanich said. "I personally disagree with their interpretation of the bylaws."

The ruling of the court, written by Justice Sol Grosskopf and Chief Justice Josh Tyack, stated that SEC has limited funding and personnel but still provided adequate polling locations.

According to Grosskopf, the election budget was especially limited this semester because this funding came from students and the SEC budget, as opposed to previous ASM elections, when the UW Department of Information Technology provided the electronic voting system.

The opinion of the court also stated that SEC did everything in their power to make students aware of the election.

"They sent out e-mails, they postered all around campus," Tyack said. "They fulfilled their duty to advertise for the election, we found that what they did was more than sufficient."

According to Tyack, SJ has the power to form its own rules and guidelines for the election process in accordance with the "necessary and proper" clause in the ASM Constitution.

"We're given all the authority doing whatever we feel as necessary to run the elections," Tyack said. "That usually means we can write our own election rules, so long as they follow ASM bylaws in the ASM Constitution."

According to Tyack, the case was not difficult to decide because a majority of the petitioners' complaints were subjective.

SEC chair Leah Moe said she was not concerned about the outcome of the case, given the value SJ puts into their election rules.

"I wasn't really nervous because there were no real grounds that the petitioner presented," Moe said. "The court thinks very highly of the constitution and bylaws and they wouldn't circumvent that."

According to Moe, SEC is in the process of negotiating to have the previous electronic voting system for the next election.

Supanich said an electronic system is favorable to a paper ballot system that restricted voter turnout this semester.

"The more transparency the better," Supanich said. "We were told we'll be able to return to the trouble-free electronic voting, which seems to improve voter participation."

Supanich said SLAC does not currently plan to appeal the decision but will be committed to improving the election process in the future.

"One thing we will definitely do is make sure we make our concerns clear about accessibility when plans are being made," Supanich said. "For future ballots, we want to make sure there is an option clearly outlined for people who can't make it to a polling place."

The opinion of the court stated that although SEC provided an absentee voter option, the commission's constitution does not require it to provide an absentee process.

Tyack said SJ could potentially introduce legislation that would clarify the absentee process.

"In the future, SJ could propose a rule change with some sort of regulation with absentee ballots to make sure that policy is more clear for the future," Tyack said.

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