If it is not already apparent by the countless posters, events, giveaway items, etc. encouraging you to vote, ASUCR general elections are taking place this week. While the focus may be mostly on the candidates running for offices—and really, mainly on the three parties competing for control of ASUCR next year—there are actually several other important items on the ballot. In actuality, the arguably most important item is the Constitutional Amendment #1, which many students are hardly even aware is on the ballot.
The importance of Constitutional Amendment #1 cannot be understated, as it is the most significant amount of changes to ASUCR since the organization transitioned from a parliamentary system to a presidential system of government. This constitutional amendment does everything from simply correcting grammatical and spelling errors that have gone overlooked for years to establishing removal procedures for legislative and executive officers to reforming the appointment system of some of the most important ASUCR officers.
Yet, as the parties in this election and their volunteers approach you to secure your vote in elections this week, you might be pressured to vote against this constitutional amendment. Will they tell you the real reason why parties would not want you to support Constitutional Amendment #1? No. Fortunately, many individuals that have been within and around parties and/or ASUCR know why. As a reader of the Highlander, you should know why too.
Currently, both the Elections Director and Vice President of Finance for next year are set to be nominated by the President and appointed in special elections by the Senate-elect. Traditionally, parties have swept elections and have been therefore able to have a significant or total influence on who serves in these important positions. Sometimes, parties even go to the extent of promising (read: selling) the position(s) to certain individuals with the understanding or expectation that, if successful, that officer will support the party and/or their initiatives the following year.
One of the most important changes included in Constitutional Amendment #1 addresses this issue by changing the method of appointment for both the Elections Director and Vice President of Finance effective immediately. It makes it so that, instead of having the President nominate an individual and then having Senate-elect appoint the individual for each office, an impartial branch of ASUCR, the Judicial Council, would hold the sole authority to nominate individuals to Senate for appointment. Ideally, this would make it much more likely that a more neutral and qualified candidate would be appointed for each position.
Unfortunately, because parties are heavily invested in being able to secure these important positions, they may tell you not to support it for other reasons. However, it is important for you to be able to look past this in your decision on how to vote in this year’s elections. With regard to the Vice President of Finance, it is crucial that ASUCR has one who is willing to fairly scrutinize all expenditures and distribute funds to student groups. With regard to the Elections Director, it is crucial that ASUCR has one that does not give favorable support to any party, candidate, referenda, initiative, or constitutional amendment. If we can place this safeguard in place to ensure this, we should. Do not be misled about Constitutional Amendment #1.