With the outcome of the recent student body elections still in limbo, students have several questions regarding what could happen next.
The Student Government Supreme Court has ruled by a 3-1-1 vote that the election results are null and void due to finding that the Election Rules Commission broke its own rules while governing the elections.
The ERC, however, has already certified the results of the election with Frank Harrison and Faran Abbasi as the student body president-elect and vice president-elect, respectively.
The quandary has caught the attention of Student Affairs, the scope of which SG falls under. According to Dean of Students Tom Miller, SA will have a hand in determining which of the two decisions will stand. Miller added, that nothing will be official and no decisions will be made until the Court releases it official opinion document, which should explain the Court’s reasoning behind the nullification of the election results.
According to one justice, the opinion should be released sometime today.
Then it is a matter of determining which body has authority in the situation.
“I don’t think there’s some middle ground,” Miller said. “I think it is either accepting the response of the ERC or accepting the decision of the Court.”
While all possible SA action is dependant on the document from the Court, Miller was able to discuss some of the possible outcomes of the confusing situation. He did stress that nothing will be made official and no action will be taken until the Court’s opinion document is taken into account.
If the ERC’s decision stands rather than the Court’s, Harrison and Abbasi would take over for student body President Maxon Victor and Vice President Sameer Ahmed, respectively, at the end of the semester.
If the Court’s opinion stands, there are several possible outcomes. According to Miller, there would most likely need to be a new election held.
Until the Court releases its opinion, though, there is no way of knowing what kind of election would take place. The Court’s ruling does not specify which election results are null and void. It could theoretically be just the runoff elections rather than the general elections, which had several tickets. It also does not make any mention about including or excluding senatorial elections.
As far as the presidential election, Miller said he couldn’t foresee a student body president taking office without winning some kind of new election.
“If the Court is determined to have jurisdiction and authority to take the step it took, it creates what they established is not, ‘Here’s who the winner is,’ but the past election is void,” Miller said. “So clearly what the Court is calling for is another election, not the summary appointment of some particular candidate.”
With the end of Victor’s term in office fast approaching, the question arises of how to fill his position until his replacement is chosen.
One option that Miller mentioned is possibly extending Victor’s term if a new election can’t be finished soon enough.
Miller noted that another possible option could be having an interim student body president until a new election is finished.
That position would most likely be filled by following SG’s order of succession, which has Harrison, who is senate president, third behind Ahmed.
When asked about the remotely possible situation, Harrison noted that his term as senate president ends at the same time as Victor’s term as student body president and he would no longer be near the top of the succession list. Harrison did add, though, that if he were a candidate in a new election he would not accept any offer to act as interim student body president.
A solid answer should quickly take shape once the Court’s official opinion document is released.