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Thursday, March 10, 2005
Suit Filed Over EAP Voting Rights, Election Delay Sought
*UPDATE* The Judicial Council has notified us that the preliminary injunction has been granted in order to postpone the election. The hearing has been schedule for Sunday at 7. Breaking... More to come...
At Wednesday's Senate meeting, SQUELCH! Senator Ben Narodick tried to pass a bill allowing students to vote from their personal computers, to provide a remedy for Education Abroad Program students who are not currently able to vote. As these students are both registered and enrolled Berkeley students (and hence members of the "Association") preventing them from voting is a clear violation of our ASUC Constitution.
Ben and myself (a firm supporter of the right of EAP students to vote) have now filed charges against the Election Council with the Judicial Council seeking a judgment that the current system is unconstitutional and an injunction blocking the election until a suitable remedy is decided upon that would allow EAP students to vote. Student Action and CalSERVE have had their jackboot pressed down firmly upon the throat of a full and free democracratic ASUC for far too long.
Technically speaking, online voting would be very easy to implement. All that would need to happen is that the election council would open up the range of IP addresses that could access the election server so that it isn't only the on-campus polling locations that could log in. There have been a number of security features that have been discussed to help prevent electioneering. (The two most promising are to only allow off campus voting during the day time and again in a window at night, such as from 3 until 4 in the morning so that it would be more difficult to round up votes. Also, to implement a variable delay period between when you log in and when you are actually allowed to vote, anywhere from 5 to 25 minutes. This would make it a waste of time for someone to wait right next to a large number of people watching them vote.)
There are two main reasons why members of Student Action and CalSERVE would want to oppose this (and they voted overwhelmingly against the bill). First, they know that they would cheat. If they trusted each other not to try and use online voting to game the system, this would be much more likely to pass. Secondly, online voting empowers the students. When voting becomes easier then more people vote, and that means that SA and CS lose their stranglehold on politcal power. The two main parties are able to hold onto power by having large political machines that collectively walk thousands of people to the polls. Once students can vote from home, turnout would increase, and third party movements outside of CS and SA would become competitive because they wouldn't need a large number of volunteers to walk people to the polls to ensure that they vote.
Here is the charge sheet that was filed with Judicial Council and a summary of the case:
EAPChargeSheet.docEmail This Post!
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