After 48 hours of turmoil, the student government election is still on. The election was postponed Monday due to a faulty ballot that was missing several candidate statements and photos, among other problems, leaving the future of the annual contest to select new student government officers up in the air.
After 48 hours of turmoil, the student government election is still on.
The election was postponed Monday due to a faulty ballot that was missing several candidate statements and photos, among other problems, leaving the future of the annual contest to select new student government officers up in the air.
However, the student senate approved an altered election timeline 19-0-1 in a meeting Tuesday evening that was at times contentious but remained civil and productive. The final result is that online voting at banweb.pdx.edu will halt Friday at 5 p.m. and resume Monday, May 11 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Results will be announced Tuesday, May 12.
The senate also approved the appointment of Kyle Curtis to the position of Elections Board chair, following former Chair Ingrid Castenella’s resignation due to the board’s multiple miscues. Curtis previously served as board chair in 2008.
At first, it appeared that Curtis would have a tough road to confirmation. Several senators demanded some assurance that Curtis would be up to the task, while others including Sen. Tash Shatz defended the nomination.
“There’s not a bunch of folks clamoring to get into this hot, hot seat,” Shatz said.
Senate Pro Tempore Ariel Shultz also supported Curtis, who the senate approved 15-4-2.
“We need to have very pragmatic expectations,” Shultz said. “We need to think about what needs to happen, not what we want to happen.”
Curtis said his concern was to ensure a fair, valid election process.
“This is an unfortunate and unique situation,” he said. “We want to make sure it reflects well on ASPSU.”
Student body Vice President Kyle Cady started the meeting by taking full responsibility for the election problems, including other issues with the Elections Board that have been plaguing the process for more than a month.
“First, I’d like to apologize to everybody in this room and the student body at large,” Cady said. “Even though we stepped in, it doesn’t change what happened. It was completely irresponsible of us.”
Cady urged the senate to approve the altered timeline, which already had the support of the E-Board, Judicial Board Chief Justice Brad Vehafric and David Reese, assistant general counsel to Portland State.
“I agree the proposed revised schedule is within the purview of the E-Board,” Vehafric said. “Be decisive now, otherwise this is just going to continue to be contested and the whole process [will be] moot.”
Several issues were raised by senators and candidates, including whether the 93 votes from Monday had any chance of being counted as valid. In addition, Sen. Brendan Castricano’s Green Initiative Fund referendum had the wrong wording online for an hour and a half Tuesday morning, and as of the senate meeting current senator and senate candidate Amina Ali’s candidate statement was also wrong.
Despite the problems, all three presidential slates and Student Fee Committee member candidate Aly Rey were in favor of continuing the election.
“The idea of throwing out everyone’s votes and expecting them to vote again is faulty,” said presidential candidate Jonathan Sanford, the most outspoken of anyone from the three slates. “I hold serious reservations about not allowing those votes to count. With that, I also respect the other candidates money and time and I will support moving along.”
Presidential candidate Sean Staub mentioned that all the fliers and media reports said the election was this week, and it would be confusing to change the dates.
“This could be pushed to dead week or finals week, when everybody will be concerned with their studies,” he said.
Vice presidential candidate Chris Proudfoot, speaking on behalf of the ACT slate, said his concern was throwing out more votes or postponing the election further.
“We need to give students an election,” he said.