thoughts on the gathering shitstorm…

Blake has been disqualified from the Presidential race. The violation of regulations that he is charged with relates to what constitutes an apparent slate.

I don’t like the rules that the AMS has on slates. I think that they are stupid. I think that they do not reflect the nature of democracy. I think they hide real affiliations from voters. However, the rules exist, and that’s that. I actually voted to get rid of the rule, but it was to no avail. If you care, write your AMS reps.

What is the criteria for disqualification? The Elections Committee can disqualify you for anything. The only guideline that they have is that the punishment must be proportional to the violation. If Blake indeed was campaigning as part of a slate, or engaged in slatelike behavior, the 42 vote margin would make it more than likely that the election was won unjustly. However, even if it wasn’t, the arbiter of appropriate punishments is the Elections Committee.

The wording in the Code is “real or apparent slate”, which leaves much to the interpretation of the Elections Committee. In this instance, the EC gets to judge where this line is drawn, and whether it has been crossed in any particular instance.

What happens next? We’ll, naturally there will be an appeal. The action today stemmed from a complain arising this morning, which is within the scope of the 72 hour window from the end of balloting. This window closes tomorrow at 4PM. Blake has 48 hours from the moment of the ruling to appeal to Election Appeals Committee. This means he has until 7PM Sunday to file an appeal of the ruling. The case will then be heard by a committee comprised of a Justice of Student Court as designated by the Chief Justice of Student Court, a representative of Blake, and a representative of the Elections Committee. Bizarrely, no representative for opposition is allowed on the committee, but they would no doubt be granted the opportunity to speak.

The burden of proof is now on Blake to demonstrate that there were errors in the judgment. This is notable as the candidate must do more than create a reasonable doubt, but explain why the actions of the EC were in error.

In a disturbingly ambiguous piece of code:

Once constituted, an Election Appeals Committee shall create procedures as it sees fit to deal with the issue before it.

This committee can overturn the decision if the committee finds that the ruling fulfilled one of four points:

  • The ruling was inconsistent with Code or the Elections Handbook.
  • The ruling failed to consider relevant evidence.
  • The committee acted in an obviously unfair manner.
  • Inconsistent penalties have been applied for similar violations.

The committee can uphold, replace or order the reconsideration by the committee of a ruling. This will happen no later than 96 hours after the appeal is filed.

After that, the appeal may go to Student Court, where all involved will be picked to death by harpies.

I think that the Elections Committee is acting on the evidence it can gather from the Presidential race. It would be presumptuous to assume that the EA is either corrupt or incompetent (as numerous people are no doubt going to do as this shitstorm unfolds oh take a look at that, it’s already happened), just because they happened to make a ruling that was not to the liking of those disqualified.

There appears to be some confusion over the email that this was sent from. I have very little doubt that Sarina was the one sending the email, as I have correspondence with her throughout the election period from the email in question. I would doubt that for this particular situation, someone managed to hijack her email, something that would have absolutely no consequences down the road. We can probably take it on good faith that this is from Sarina.

Similarly, there appears to be some question as to why a complaint filed on Tuesday is being ruled on today – I couldn’t possibly imagine what the Elections Committee would be doing on Wednesday that might keep them busy.

Everybody out there in the blogosphere seems to be questioning this based on insufficient evidence. Since evidence was not a part of the ruling, this might be natural, but this will all come out as part of the appeals process. We can’t really assume that the Committee is stupid out of hand. They knew where this was going to go, and must have evidence to back it up when it gets through the appeals process. It will be questioned there, as is the proper place.

4 Responses to “thoughts on the gathering shitstorm…”

  1. 1 radicalbeer
    February 7, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    The composition of the committee seems fine with me. You have the EC who made the administrative decision, the candidate who believes it was wrong, and an intermediate arbiter. A priori, we can assume the vote tally would be 1 for, 1 against and 1 abstain, so it’s a good mix. Replacing the EC with the original complainant would be inappropriate for two reasons:
    1. It is not always clear who the original complainant is.
    2. The only reason the complaint carries weight is because of the EC’s discretion.

    On an unrelated note, I hate how within the AMS, the moment someone makes a decision that’s unpopular it’s suddenly a conspiracy. The community here can be extremely schizophrenic. Let the evidence become public, let the procedure carry out. There are procedures here that ensure some degree of fairness, provided they’re followed. Everyone is trying to yell at each other in the dark right now. Wait for the lights to come on, to make sure you’re not actually facing a wall.

    – Alex

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