UISG passes new election code legislation

UISG passes election code legislation amending recommendations regarding financial caps, independent senator threshold percentages, and election timelines.

Members+of+the+UISG+meet+in+the+Black+Box+Theater+on+Tuesday%2C+October+23%2C+2018.+

Thomas A. Stewart

Members of the UISG meet in the Black Box Theater on Tuesday, October 23, 2018.

Mastura Ibnat, News Reporter

UISG began revising election-code recommendations on Oct. 16 with such topics as tickets’ financial caps and  vote thresholds for independent senators. The election code was revised and completed by the Senate on Oct. 23.

Last week, Sen. Alexia Sanchez advocated for a revision to the financial caps for both executive tickets and tickets consisting only of senators. The recommendation came after the UI SURGE Party was fined for spending over its $3,000 budget.

Sanchez recommended an amendment to raise the cap from $1,000 to $1,500, which passed. She said the cap was originally $3,000 and felt that a cap of $1,000 was too significant of a change.

RELATED: Election code changes presented to UISG

The topic of vote thresholds for independent senators was widely debated among senators. Sen. Jenna Pokorny advocated for a revision on the threshold that independent senators are subject to.

Originally, all independent senators were subject to a 7 percent threshold; reaching this threshold would officially elect them to the Senate.

Last year, only two of six independent senators were able to meet the 19 percent threshold. Seven seats were reserved for independent senators, and five seats remained unfilled through the fall term.

The 7 percent threshold was called into question by some senators.

Pokorny advised the Senate to consider a threshold in the 3 to 5 percent range. An amendment to lower the independent senator threshold from 7 to 5 percent passed.

Student Elections Commissioner Sidney Martinez was asked to find further research to support the amendment. Martinez reported that in 2012, no independent senators were elected, and in 2014, only one of six independent senators ran.

The Election Code Reform Work Group recommended changing candidate interest meetings to the fall semester; previously, it was held in the spring. Sen. Guowei Qi offered an amendment to change the timeline of the interest meetings to the spring.

“I think this is in the interest that UISG is more accessible to students who are thinking to get more involved in UISG … at least in the upcoming 2019 elections,” he said. “The timeline has been such a time crunch and especially for first-year students who are feeling their way through their first semester and want to get involved their second semester.”

Speaker Pro Tem Jacob Heid said the election code from the previous year also stated interest meetings were held in the spring semester.

The amendment passed with 24 in favor and 22 against. Some senators in favor believed that it allowed first-year, transfer, and new senators more time to build connections and get the information necessary for an elected seat.

“First-year senators need more time to get acquainted with the campus before having to make large decisions about running for student government,” first-year Sen. Anna Correa said. “It also isn’t enough time to get to know people to get on a ticket.”

 

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