After weeks of deliberation, the Associated Students Legislative Council passed an amended version of a bill restructuring the Election Code for the upcoming spring elections at Wednesday night’s weekly meeting.
A.S. President Harrison Weber vetoed the council’s initial legislation — unanimously adopted two weeks ago — on the grounds that its provision preventing current elected representatives from endorsing candidates violated First Amendment rights to free speech. While the deadline for the annual restructuring of the code passed two weeks ago, Weber’s veto prompted the council to revisit the issue in order to work out a compromise.
The revised code allows current elected representatives to give public support to individual candidates running in upcoming elections and includes fewer restrictions on elected members broadcasting their party affiliation past the election period.
Executive Director Marisela Marquez said the Judicial Council could decide to enforce the original code, as the revision occurred two weeks after deadline.
“I think that the council is striving to address the reasons that the Election Code was vetoed,” Marquez said. “They had originally met the deadline two weeks ago, but because it was vetoed they had to restart. Because the legislature passed the election code on time and the president vetoed it, the third branch —Judicial Council — might have to decide which code will reign in this cycle.”
According to A.S. Attorney General Dina Varshavsky, a fourth-year communications major, the organization faces a short timeline to set campaign guidelines before the election in April.
“We are in a questioning phase right now. The deadline has passed and no code has yet been approved. I appreciate the work that the Election Committee does, but my concern is that I am not sure what elections cycle this code will cover; I will pose this question to Judicial Council,” Varshavsky said. “All the candidates that are running deserve to know the rules. Candidates are at risk and I will see that Judicial Council quickly passes this. We must know what kind of election procedure will take place.”
On-Campus Representative Jonathan Abboud said the amendment would streamline its political party system within A.S.
“Any person can associate with a party for the entire year — this clause is the most important,” Abboud said. “It makes it less confusing for students when recruiting, and makes A.S. seem more defined.”