As the declaration of candidacy came to a close on Sunday, March 5, the ECOS executive elections looked to be off to a decent start. There were candidates for every race and the rules had been made clear. Until suddenly they weren’t. Three new promising candidates were let into the race nearly 24 hours after the initial candidacy period was over, after the President and the Director of Elections believed they had found a “loophole” to let them in. So what’s the big deal?
Well, according to both the ECOS Elections Committee by-laws and the ECOS
Constitution, which are both available on the ECOS website, they should not have been. To be clear, I don’t necessarily blame the candidates who were put in this situation. It is the Director of Elections’ responsibility to know his own by-laws and the Constitution and hold candidates to that standard. The blame for this flippant and incredibly sloppy interpretation of the by-laws (if it can even be called that) is solely the fault of the Director of Elections and the
ECOS President. The committee by-laws state that a mandatory declaration of candidacy meeting must occur at 5 pm on Sunday before the election begins (Article 6, Section A, Part 2, i). They also state that forms must be in by the time that that meeting concludes (Article 6, Section A, Part 2, ii) and late submissions will not be accepted (Article 6, Section A, Part 4). They also state that changes to the by-laws cannot be made after the beginning of the
declaration of candidacy period, and whatever changes ARE made are subject to student senate approval (Article 9, Section A & B). The ECOS Constitution also states that changes that policies and procedures of elections are also subject to student senate approval (Section 506B, clause c). That’s a long list of statutes to break now and ask for forgiveness later.
You should be upset with the outgoing Director of Elections. He had a whole year to make the changes he saw fit to allow these exceptions and exemptions. To try and make them after the declaration of candidacy period had passed, and not notify the other candidates or the student body that they were offering more time, is incredibly unfair.
But you should be more upset with the outgoing ECOS President. It is her job to uphold the ECOS Constitution (Article 2, Section 204A, clause b) and hold her cabinet members to the same standard. By helping the Director of Elections to orchestrate these exemptions, she not only ignored the by-laws but actively aided her officer in breaking them. She has broken the core tenets of her position and allowed, for the second year in a row, the executive council
elections to be thrown into disarray and confusion. She simply failed at her job when we needed her to execute it the most faithfully. And while it is nearly the end of her term, she should count herself lucky that at this time no one is currently seeking to impeach her.
If you attended the debate or the emergency senate meeting that occurred during this election cycle, I want to say that next year’s Executive Council will not be so inept. It will be my job, as incoming president, to make sure they know the ins and outs of their positions like the backs of their hands. If any of us are ever so careless and disregard our Constitution so blatantly, you can and should impeach us. Go read Article 12 - it tells you how to do it. Hold us
accountable, because we are supposed to represent you. And you deserve better than this.
Maddie Reifsteck (and undersigned by candidates Madalyn Ryan, Anna Novak, Michael Jerome, Prech Potesak, Aja Jones, Jordan Mallis, Julianna Kinser and senators Zoe O’Brien and Payton Jones)
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