Three of five Portland State Elections Board positions are vacant one week before the student government elections, which some say might negatively impact the elections. The Elections Board consists of five members and is responsible for overseeing all elections on campus and for revising all rules and procedures used for governing ASPSU elections.
Three of five Election Board members resign
Three of five Portland State Elections Board positions are vacant one week before the student government elections, which some say might negatively impact the elections.
The Elections Board consists of five members and is responsible for overseeing all elections on campus and for revising all rules and procedures used for governing ASPSU elections. The Associated Students of Portland State University constitution requires that elections take place during the ninth week of winter term, or March 5-8 this year.
Elections Board Chair Robert Stanley resigned from his position Friday, one day after he was arrested at a party for allegedly assaulting three women and one man, including student government members. Stanley is the second chair of the Elections Board to resign within the last month.
“The circumstances under which he resigned were chaotic to say the least,” said Ethan Berleman, the newest chair of the Elections Board.
Board member Alexandra West resigned on Monday and student senator Jack Mesplay was un-appointed Monday after resigning from the senate because of time conflicts, according to student body President Courtney Morse. The senate rescinded their vote to put Mesplay on the Elections Board because he resigned from his position as a student senator.
The student senate appointed Sean Larkin to both the student senate and the Elections Board at Monday’s senate meeting. Larkin will fill Mesplay’s spot on the Elections Board, giving the board enough members to make quorum. The Judicial Board will vote to accept West’s and Stanley’s resignations today.
Berleman was promoted to chair of the Elections Board so that the elections process could continue. He was first appointed as a general member, but was moved up to vice chair a few weeks ago after Mary Dinsdale, chair of the board at the time, resigned.
He said he signed up for the board without knowing much about it, and out of nowhere he had been appointed to chair.
“I’m trying to fulfill my commitment,” Berleman said. “I’m trying to go to all the meetings and be informed. I don’t know all the bylaws.”
The board has been unable to meet because of quorum issues, Berleman said. He said the Elections Board has reserved a room for elections debates on Friday.
If the board were unable to make quorum, Berleman said the board would either disband altogether-putting the election in the hands of Portland State without student representation- or would push back the election, which would break the ASPSU constitution.
If the constitution is broken the Oregon Department of Justice can negate the election results, something that Morse said would not be a practical option.
Berleman said that there is at least one group of candidates that is ineligible because of bylaw issues and may not yet be aware of it. To finalize the election ballot, which is due Thursday, it must first be approved by a quorum of the Elections Board.
Berleman said he is worried about disbanding the Elections Board or breaking the ASPSU constitution because he does not want to let the “entire student population down.” He said he is hoping that everything goes smoothly and that the election will go on as planned next week.
Debates for Student Fee Committee and student senate positions were originally scheduled for Tuesday. Student body president candidate debates were scheduled for this coming Thursday.
Presidential candidate Patrick Beisell said he has not heard for sure if the election will go ahead as scheduled or where and when debates will be held. He said he understands why he has not been contacted yet.
“They’re understandingly pretty stressed out,” Beisell said of the Elections Board.