The IUSA Congress passed a resolution altering the formation of the IUSA Election Commission during an assembly Monday.
“I think the big (issue) that we’re really trying to address is the nature of the Election Commission, in terms of when it’s formed, how it’s formed and what role it plays,” IUSA President Andrew Braden said.
IUSA passed the resolution altering the formation of the Election Commission in response to concerns the former formation of the election commission was biased.
“There were a lot of questions of whether the current system is fair in terms of the ways the booths are manned or the way the polling takes place,” Braden said. “And our hope is that by creating this election commission that runs throughout the year, that is unbiased, that is legitimate, they can the craft the way that they want that to look.”
Under the old system, the Election Commission wasn’t placed under any branch. The IUSA president selected the head of the Election Commission, who then selected the other four members. These members remained part of the Election Commission for an election cycle, said Grant Manon, IUSA Supreme Court chief justice.
Under the new system, the Election Commission is placed under the IUSA Supreme Court. Members of the IUSA executive branch and the IUSA Supreme Court will select up to nine members of the Election Commission. These members will then remain part of the Election Commission until they graduate, Manon said. Upon graduation, current members of the Election Commission will select new members to replace them.
“That’s really the major difference,” he said. “It’s going to be a perpetual body that doesn’t disband and then reform every year.”
Manon said the members of the Election Commission under the new system will also have more autonomy than did members of the Election Commission under the old system.
Members will be given the authority to improve the election code, increase election turnout and increase IUSA advocacy.
“But that’s something that will really be left up to that organization, to decide what they think the best use of that organization should be,” Manon said.
Though the Election Commission is placed under the IUSA Supreme Court in the new system, Manon emphasized the need to clearly define a distinct relationship between the two bodies.
In the past few years, when the Election Commission disqualified a ticket from a campaign, the ticket sued the Election Commission on the body’s interpretation of the election code and the case went to the IUSA Supreme Court, Manon said.
By clearly defining a distinct relationship between the Election Commission and the IUSA Supreme Court, Manon said he hopes to alleviate the conflict of interest created under such circumstances: when the IUSA Supreme Court is forced to rule on the actions of the Election Commission, itself a portion of the IUSA Supreme Court.
Manon said the applications for the Election Commission are set to be released before winter break. The applications will then likely be due by the end of January and the Commission will likely be set by the end February.
Manon said he hopes that any student who’s interested in applying will apply.
“We don’t want to have an overrepresentation of one type of student or another,” he said. “It’d be nice if we could have the full, diverse range of students at IU.”
Similarly, Braden said he hopes any student who’s interested in tackling election reform will apply.
“Our goal is to create this Election Commission and really give it some teeth and give it some legitimacy, so that it can go ahead and do what it’s meant to do and regulate elections,” he said.
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