2020 ASUCSD Elections Delayed Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

AS Elections 2020 - NewsCampusNewsStudent Government

Photo of the 2019-20 ASUCSD Senate meeting held on June 5, 2019 during a vote approving the summer budget.
Ethan Edward Coston / The Triton

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Associated Students of UC San Diego (ASUCSD) approved a new constitutional amendment to its election procedures during its March 11 meeting, giving the Senate the ability to form an emergency committee that can implement temporary changes to the election code for campus-wide ASUCSD elections. The amendment was ratified by the minimum four out of six college councils on March 12.

Elections Manager Danielle Viviani told The Triton that college council elections will still be held this week because all college council elections are uncontested.

“I have been working with our elections manager to develop some language that would essentially give the elections manager the ability to work a little bit outside of the rules in the instance of a campus-wide emergency,” ASUCSD President Eleanor Grudin told The Triton.

According to Grudin, the election code cannot be altered once the election season begins at noon on Thursday of Week 9. However, emergency measures taken in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the suspension of in-class finals for Winter Quarter 2020 and online classes for Spring Quarter 2020, posed an unforeseen challenge that would impact college and campus-wide elections.

The amendment itself does not define a campus-wide emergency (the only time the amendment goes into effect), leaving it up to interpretation by future ASUCSD administrations. Grudin indicated that appeals to the Judicial Board can decide if future uses of the amendment are justified or not justified.

The emergency committee consists of the president, vice president (VP) of campus affairs, VP external affairs, AS financial controller, and AS elections manager. If one of these individuals is a current candidate in the election, they must recuse themselves from the committee. The committee must inform the Senate of its intention to meet at least three hours prior, with non-candidate senators permitted to attend and cast votes on amendments.

After the college councils approved the amendment, the committee met at 9:00 a.m. on March 13, according to Viviani. Senators were informed of the meeting at 3:00 a.m on March 13; however, Viviani said that only the five aforementioned committee members attended the meeting.

After amending the election code, the committee unanimously decided to move campus-wide ASUCSD elections to Week 8 of Spring Quarter 2020. College council elections will still be held this week. The election code changes only apply to the 2020 election season. The changes went into effect immediately after candidates were informed of the changes.

Viviani explained that ASUCSD’s focus would be split between managing the emergency and encouraging voter turnout to the elections if campus-wide elections were kept to Week 2. Moving the elections would allow ASUCSD to focus their efforts on student advocacy rather than the elections.

“Due to these very uncertain and extenuating circumstances we did not think it was fair to both the student body and the candidates to ask them to focus on elections when there are much more pressing concerns,” said Viviani.

Students will cast their votes on TritonLink in the upcoming elections. The college council elections began at 10:00 a.m. today and will continue until 4:00 p.m. on April 10. Election results will be available at 6:30 p.m. on April 10.

ASUCSD voting will begin 10:00 a.m. on May 18 and continue until 4:00 p.m. on May 22. Election results will be available at 6:30 p.m. on May 22.

Samir Nomani is the News Editor at The Triton. You can follow him @samir_the_first.

Correction: This article was corrected on April 6 at 11:50 a.m. because of grammatical errors in the 11th and 12th paragraphs. We apologize for this error