By Tyler Wayne Patterson /// Web & Social Media Manager
[box type=”shadow” align=”aligncenter” ]HOW IT ALL BROKE DOWN
Eight of the candidates on the ballot were allowed to run unconstitutionally.
President Boyd offered the Director of Elections $100. The ASLC constitution states that the “Director of Elections shall be paid $0.”
The decision to fill the ballots unconstitutionally was because few people applied to run, said Callaghan.
At a cost of $100, a second ballot was sent out to the class of 2018 after ASLC omitted an eligible candidate from the first ballot.[/box]
To get more people on the Associated Students of Lewis & Clark ballot, cabinet members and Director of Elections Noah Callaghan (’15) repeatedly violated the constitution ASLC senators spent five hours approving last year. Of the 30 senators vying for votes on the ballot last week, only 22 fulfilled the ASLC constitutional requirement of 25 signatures. Only two of the eight candidates from the Class of 2015 turned in 25 signatures.
Worried that they might not get applicants for Director of Elections after the sudden and unexpected departure of former Director Josh Provost (’16), ASLC cabinet offered a $100 stipend for the position from the cabinet operations budget. That contradicted the ASLC constitution, which states that the “Director of Elections shall be paid $0.”
Filling the ballot
In one of his six emails to the Class of 2016, Callaghan wrote that Alexa Jakusovszky (’16) had to back out of the race due to prior commitments. However, Jakusovszky did not even apply for senate—she just expressed interest to ASLC leadership. To keep six candidates on the ballot, Callaghan recruited Jakusovszky’s replacement, Melissa Dean-Treseler (’16).
Only 22 of the 30 candidates on the ballot submitted the constitutional requirement of 25 signatures, not including Alexa Jakusovsky. With the knowledge that they would violate the constitution, Callaghan and Boyd chose to allow the candidates without signatures on the ballot anyway.
Boyd said that cabinet members recruited nearly every senior on the ballot through personal relationships. ASLC did not ask Dean-Treseler or six senior candidates to get 25 signatures. The rest of the student body never got that option.
Boyd acknowledges the consistent constitutional violations in the election process. He plans to hold a special election for the sixth class of 2016 spot, which had originally been offered to Dean-Treseler. Luke Engstrand (‘15) dropped out of the election after ballots were sent out, but was left on the Ballot. He ended up getting enough votes to put him in the top six, leaving two losers. A seat remains open for the class of 2015, and ASLC is unsure how to proceed constitutionally.
“The constitution was going to be broken.”
Last April, ASLC senators spent weeks writing a new constitution. Still, Boyd claims the new constitution left cabinet in a constitutional Catch-22, with no choice but to ignore its own requirements. This year, ASLC allowed students without signatures on the ballot, Boyd said, “so that Lewis & Clark could have a functioning student government on time.” Boyd said If ASLC leadership didn’t stick to requiring signatures, senate would not have quorum. That means they would break another requirement—holding the first ASLC meeting by the fourth week of school.
“Regardless,” Boyd said, “the constitution was going to be broken.”
That is not true. There was no constitutional requirement that all positions had to be contested or that the first meeting has to have quorum. Furthermore, If students without 25 signatures were taken off the ballot, the first senate meeting actually would have quorum. A special election could have been held later to fill the remaining seats.
New to ASLC, Callaghan sought help from experienced cabinet members, Boyd said, but received few answers. Defending Callaghan’s performance, Boyd said that the Director of Elections had to “figure it all out on his own.” Boyd applauded Callaghan for “doing a great job for what he’s been given.”
Because of a mistake on the first-year ballot, cabinet members and Callaghan chose to delay the results for the other three classes. ASLC omitted an eligible first-year, and had to send out a new ballot, costing ASLC $100. All votes from the first ballot are void, and candidates who were on that ballot must get people to vote for them again.
The following candidates were elected, but never fulfilled the 25 signature requirement: Ghassan Eiwaz (‘15), Maneesha Horshin (‘15) and Constatine Pankin (‘15).
So who’s Responsible?
Director of Elections Noah Callaghan is charged with carrying out elections according to constitutional regulations. Callaghan said that cabinet, including Boyd and Chief Justice Phoebe Gresser, chose to accept candidates without signatures.
The ballots for the classes of 2016, 2017 and 2018 were not contested at the time candidate applications were due. Because of the lack of student interest in positions, Cabinet decided to fill the ballots unconstitutionally. “ASLC is supposed to have six people running, and we didn’t have six people? What if you have only three people, and the application period is closed? Do you just have three people run? These are the decisions that the ASLC cabinet faced,” Callaghan said.
Concerned students can submit a formal complaint to Gresser, who has the responsibility of investigating any constitutional complaints. Students who believe the constitution was violated can call a special election against the alleged violators.
Editor’s note: The author of this article applied for the Director of Elections position. To satisfy any concerns over conflicts of interest, we’d like to note that he began working on the story well after he was turned down for the position, and his intricate knowledge of ASLC regulations ensured thorough reporting for this story.
President Lincoln Boyd (’15) told The Pioneer Log that he gave Director of Elections Noah Callaghan (’15) a $100 stipend. Boyd later clarified that while the stipend is still unconstitutional, ASLC cabinet members voted to offer Callaghan the money. Boyd is not a voting member of cabinet.
The above article stated that if ASLC could not find the required six senators for each class, “students could have applied for the remaining seats and been selected by senators.” As of Spring 2014, this is actually not a procedure allowed by the constitution.
The above article misrepresented the relationship between Boyd and former Director of Elections Josh Provost (’16). Boyd does not blame the errors in this election on Provost’s performance or character, but rather on the sudden transition between directors of elections. Before he quit, Provost provided ASLC with emailed instructions and recommendations for voting software.