The UC Santa Barbara Associated Students winter quarter special election to fill the internal vice president position closed voting on Feb. 4. Results remain under injunction pending the resolution of the Judicial Council case contesting the election’s legitimacy.
The final voter turnout was 7.15% of undergraduates or 1,649 votes, surpassing the amended voting threshold of 7%.
Following concerns raised during the Feb. 1 Senate meeting, the Associated Students (A.S.) Elections Board voted to raise the threshold from 3% to 7%, and extended the voting deadline from Feb. 2 to Feb. 4. The candidates are third-year economics and communication double major Sydney Kupsh, third-year political science major Coleton Cristiani and third-year communication major Gabrielle Diaz.
The injunction on results will be lifted after the closure of Judicial Council case Kalia v. Stankiewicz. The plaintiff argues that the election is illegal because the position was not deemed vacant by the Senate — a requirement to hold special elections.
“Elections Board is awaiting the Judicial Council’s decision in the case Kalia vs Stankiewicz to see how we can proceed with post-election matters,” an A.S. Elections Board representative said in a statement to the Nexus.
The case follows the removal of former Internal Vice President Bee Schaefer in Fall Quarter 2022 in accordance with an executive order issued by fourth-year political science major and A.S. President Gurleen Pabla. The order deems the position as vacant and says Schaefer resigned due to her striking from her position, citing anti-Black harassment within A.S. Schaefer maintains she did not resign.
Concerns have also persisted around the legitimacy of the executive order itself. While A.S. Attorney General Adam Bagul said the executive order overrides the special elections guidelines stipulated in the legal code, he stood by the order’s validity.
“Holding the current Special Election to the typical procedures laid out in legal code is a misnomer, as the executive order that prescribed the Special Election, in this case, takes precedence over the typical procedures for a conventional term,” Bagul said in a statement to the Nexus. “The breakdown of function that UCSB’s A.S. went through during fall quarter made the strict adherence to these portions of A.S. legal code impossible.”
Representatives of the Judicial Council did not immediately respond to requests for comment.Interim Internal Vice President Hailey Stankiewicz did not immediately respond to requests for comment regarding the Judicial Council case, which cites her and the rest of the 73rd Senate as a defendant.
A version of this article appeared on p. 4 of the Feb. 9, 2023, print edition of the Daily Nexus.