Abuse of Authority

Campus Issues: Suspending bylaws should be reserved for only the most extreme of circumstances - not last-minute impasses.

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For any other government, suspending its governing rules acknowledges a state of emergency or similar extraordinary circumstances. For the ASUC, suspension of its bylaws is an almost unremarkable occurrence.

Last Wednesday, the ASUC Senate had to resort to suspending part of the ASUC Constitution and Bylaws to change the number and location of polling stations. While unsurprising, this a troubling indicator of the degree to which elected student officials fail to understand the seriousness of their jobs. Senators chose to exercise their power to completely ignore part of their operating restrictions, a choice that sets a dangerous precedent for future decisions and yet again calls into question the existence of the bylaws.

No one is free from blame here. Senators should have changed the bylaws long before the penultimate meeting before the election. The elections council should have planned for the eight stations specified in the bylaws rather than preparing six and working to accommodate an additional seventh.

We do not take this position out of fondness for polling stations - we believe the ASUC should continue paring down the number of locations and consider removing restrictions on voting from AirBears or ASUC-sponsored campus buildings. Voting should be made convenient to all students - not by establishing polling stations that cost $1,000 to operate but by making online voting as unrestricted and easy as possible.

The ASUC should even consider establishing one larger polling station on Sproul Plaza to balance maximum visibility with minimum cost. But these are changes that should be proposed, deliberated and implemented as outlined in the bylaws- not be made as last-minute fixes that require emergency measures.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Normal times, and prosaic matters such as the choosing of polling locations, do not.

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