Beisell could be president by default

A Judicial Board decision to invalidate student body president elect Rudy Soto as a candidate could give Patrick Beisell a victory by default.

A Judicial Board decision to invalidate student body president elect Rudy Soto as a candidate could give Patrick Beisell a victory by default.

Soto was not registered for the required number of classes to be verified as a candidate for the student government elections.

Invalidating Soto as a candidate could force the Elections Board to validate Patrick Beisell, who lost the presidential race to Soto by the popular vote, as the student body president.

The Elections Board voted by a 2-1 margin to validate Rudy Soto as the elected student body president on April 20, despite finding on the same day that Soto was not registered for the required number of classes to be a candidate.

Beisell filed an appeal to the Judicial Board on April 20, which questioned Soto’s victory and called the election results invalid because Soto was not registered for enough classes. The Judicial Board voted 3-0 on April 26 to accept the appeal, stating that the Election Board decision to validate Soto was unconstitutional.

Now, the Elections Board must revote on the election results and must exclude all votes that Soto received, said Keith Creech, judicial board chair. Because Beisell was the only other candidate running for the office of Associated Students of Portland State University (ASPSU) president, he would be given the office by default.

Creech said that by accepting Beisell’s appeal, the Judicial Board decided that Soto was ineligible as a candidate.

The Judicial Board is the highest-ranking body in student government and their decision is binding. The Elections Board runs student government elections and validates the election results.

Article III, section 6 of the 2006-07 ASPSU constitution states that candidates running for office must be enrolled in and complete at least six credit hours each term, excluding “educational activity leadership credits.” Students voted in the elections to revise the constitution for next year, reducing the credit requirement from six to four credits per term.

Soto said he was enrolled in eight credits during elections, but three of those credits were education activity leadership credits. Therefore, Soto was one credit short of being eligible.

Soto said that he only fell below the credit requirement because he was in the process of adding and dropping classes. Portland State has a four-week add/drop period. Soto said it is his right as a student to add and drop classes within that period.

Creech said Soto became disqualified as a candidate when he dropped below the six-credit minimum. Members of ASPSU can add or drop classes as they please, Creech said, but must not drop below the six-credit minimum.

Soto is currently enrolled in 12 credits and said he is required to maintain 12 credits each term because of scholarships. He said he has taken at least 12 credits during each term he has been at PSU.

Students elected Soto as ASPSU president over Beisell by 89 votes (999 votes for Soto, 910 votes for Beisell).

The elections were originally slated to take place during the ninth week of winter term, but were canceled because of Elections Board turnover. After nearly complete turnover, the board had no record of which candidates had attended required orientation and were forced to cancel elections.

ASPSU elections were postponed until the third week of spring term. Postponing the elections broke Article IX, section 1 of the 2006-07 ASPSU constitution.

ASPSU advisor Natalee Webb said that the Judicial Board cannot invalidate Soto’s victory solely. Because the election results were validated at the same time, all of the election results would need to either be valid or invalid.

But because the Judicial Board is forcing the Elections Board to merely revote on validating the results, the Elections Board may choose to invalidate Soto as a candidate.

Soto can appeal the Judicial Board decision to the student government Senate on Monday. The senate must pass Soto’s appeal by a three-quarters majority vote.

The Elections Board will meet on either Wednesday or Thursday. Chair of the Elections Board, Ethan Gross, said he is waiting for the official Judicial Board opinion.

The Judicial Board opinion, which will extensively reveal the reasoning behind their decision, should be released Monday, Creech said.