Controversy arose during last year’s spring elections of the Associated Students of UC Irvine when Tammy Nguyen, a candidate for executive vice president, and Ji Son, a candidate for vice president of student services, were disqualified due to incompliance with the ASUCI elections code.
Though Nguyen and Son had received a majority of votes, they were accused of violating Section C of Article 12 of the ASUCI elections code, which stated that all candidates must turn in financial statements of campaign spending including ‘original receipts for all purchases made for the campaign, a detailed list of all donated money, supplies or materials, and any discounted or previously owned materials or services that are used in the course of the candidate’s campaign.’
Since the incident, the ASUCI elections code has been revised to avoid similar problems in this year’s election.
ASUCI had a revisions process and changed many points of the elections code, according to Alexander Fuqua, ASUCI executive vice president. Additional changes may be made this quarter if there are new discrepancies.
The elections code no longer requires candidates to submit receipts with their financial statements, except in the event of a dispute between two candidates.
‘The candidates are not required to turn in their receipts, but it is suggested that they hold on to them in the case that someone challenges their financial statement,’ said Gabe Ayass, ASUCI president.
Requiring candidates to submit receipts was considered unnecessary, because candidates do not have campaign spending limits, according to Fuqua.
Ayass said that the new revisions ensure that candidates will not be disqualified for minor transgressions.
Although revisions have been made to prevent another incident like that involving Son and Nguyen, Fuqua did not rule out the possibility of unforeseen problems and said that ‘there is always a chance for controversies in future elections.’
Other changes have been made to the elections code since last spring, the most significant of which is the banning of wireless access to the ASUCI voting Web site. Fuqua explained that this was enacted to prevent candidates from fraudulently gathering votes.
‘Last year, candidates used laptops to go around asking people to vote for them,’ Fuqua said. ‘We have blocked wireless connection to the voting Web site to prevent this.’
However, other problems persist, according to Fuqua.
‘There is a problem with posting,’ Fuqua said. ‘Candidates post where they are not allowed and the elections committee can only take down the postings. We cannot penalize them. The elections code should be revised to make [the candidates] pay a fine for violations.’
Although violations of the ASUCI elections code may result in disqualifications, the code is not explained to candidates at a mandatory meeting.
‘During the meeting, we encourage the candidates to look over the code themselves and understand all the rules for running in an ASUCI election,’ Fuqua said. ‘Furthermore, when each candidate returns their application for candidacy, they sign a document that states they have become familiar with the elections code. So it would seem redundant, and I would not want to waste anyone’s time during the candidates’ meeting to go over the elections code in depth.’
Instead, designated elections commissioners hold office hours to answer any questions that candidates may have.