From the same people who squandered student money in tech stocks and have continually asked students for more cash in the past three elections comes another Associated Students blunder – the sliding-scale constitutional amendment.
The amendment originally intended to adjust the number of votes needed to pass a ballot measure or amendment according to the number of students who turn out to vote. The percentage needed to pass a piece of legislation would depend on the minimum number of students needed for a valid election (20 percent) and the five-year average voter turnout. The scale would slide from 66.67 percent the closer voter turnout came to 20 percent to just over 50 percent the closer the actual turnout came to the five-year average.
At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. Fooled by the complexities of high school algebra, Leggies approved a sliding-scale formula that’s even sleazier than the intended system.
According to the formula that appears on the current election ballot, for any election that meets the requirements for a sliding-scale system, the percentage of votes needed to pass a measure only ranges from 50 percent to almost 51 percent.
The whole thing is asinine, but then again, Leggies can’t count that high.
The sliding-scale amendment is the ugly baby of well-dressed A.S. Director Don Daves-Rougeaux, who suggested the amendment to Leggies. The amendment failed the first time through Legislative Council but succeeded on its second pass, placing it on the ballot for this election.
Daves-Rougeaux has a vested interest in the sliding-scale amendment, even though he claims it was suggested to bring A.S. elections in line with the sliding-scale system of campus elections. Instating a sliding scale would make passing an A.S. base fee in a Fall Quarter Special Election much easier. Supporters would just have to get a base fee on the ballot, make sure enough supporters of the base fee vote and poorly publicize the election to everyone else.
If the base fee passes, it’s more money for A.S. and, possibly, higher salaries for A.S. administrators. Daves-Rougeaux will have cash for a few more silk shirts.
It was grossly irresponsible of Daves-Rougeaux, as the chief adviser to all members of A.S., to allow Leggies to approve the incorrect formula for the ballot. The fact that he didn’t bother to check the math on a system he suggested but didn’t provide a formula for only underscores his laziness and incompetence.
Daves-Rougeaux has gradually increased his control over A.S., slowly transforming our supposedly university-independent student government into an extension, similar to the Office of Student Life’s leadership programs. If Leggies don’t understand their own legislation, it’s impossible for students to have any faith in their government.
The incorrect ballot measure is most likely a moronic mistake on the part of Daves-Rougeaux and the Leggies. It would be nice to attribute the power the incorrect formula grants to small voter blocs to some sinister intelligence, but since we’re talking about A.S., that doesn’t seem too likely.
The inability of Leggies, Daves-Rougeaux and the Campus Elections Committee to double check an equation any competent, acne-ridden high school student could figure out is appalling considering the huge repercussions if the incorrect formula were passed.