Elections Commission: Rojas can run with Ruzic

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March 18, 2009

11:50 PM

*Update: 10:18 a.m.*

The Student Assembly Elections Commission ruled early this morning that SA presidential candidate Sarah Rojas ’10 can replace her former running mate, Austin Wiese ’10, with Ryan Ruzic J.D. ’11 in the March 26 elections.

Wiese withdrew from the race for personal reasons.

“The decision was made after an extensive review of all relevant Student Assembly regulations and precedents,” Elections Commission Chairman Matt Beato ’09 said in a press release. “The Elections Commission decided that a specific clause in the Constitution discussing switching SA Presidential tickets prevailed over a section of Code which it appeared to conflict with or supplement.”

The Election Commission’s seven-page ruling on the situation outlines in detail the rules and regulations dictating SA election law. Click “here [PDF]”:http://flathatnews.com/files/pdf/CommissionDecisionontheCandidacyofRojasandRuzic.pdf to read a copy of the complete ruling.

According to the document, Rojas filed the forms declaring Ruzic her new running mate at 11:52 p.m. Wednesday night, just eight minutes before the deadline to change the election ballot. Ruzic filed his candidacy forms five minutes later.

The decision extensively outlines the differences between the SA Constitution and Election Code, as well as any precedent judicial cases.

The greatest controversy in the decision was whether Rojas could alter her ticket at such a late date, and whether Ruzic was eligible to replace Wiese. Ruzic’s eligibility was unclear because any replacement candidate would have had to attend one of the SA informational sessions which took place before Spring Break.

Ruzic did attend an informational session while considering running for SA president. He withdrew before the candidate list was publicly released. The Commission found that Ruzic’s attendance of an informational session made him eligible to replace Wiese and that his prior withdrawal did not preclude him from becoming Rojas’s running mate.

The Commission ultimately ruled that Rojas could alter her ticket and Ruzic was eligible to run.

“It is fair to say that this was not an easy, clear-cut decision. This is a decision with good arguments on both sides, and every Commissioner understands that,” the decision concludes. “Any decision that is made will thus upset some individuals on campus; some because it is contrary to their view of the rules, and some because it is contrary to their policy preferences.”

Candidates in good standing can appeal the decision to the SA Review Board, the student government’s judicial branch.

The election will take place March 26.

***

Austin Wiese ’10, who was running for Student Assembly Vice President underneath Sarah Rojas ’10, has dropped out off of the ticket for personal reasons.

“I think it is in my best interests to remove myself from the ticket,” Wiese said in an e-mail to The Flat Hat. “This has been a very personal decision for me. Sarah and I thank all those for their support.”

“It took everyone for a turn,” Rojas said.

According to Rojas, the ballot can change up to 7 days before the election — which is midnight tonight. Rojas said she is uncertain if she will appoint a new running mate.

_Check back with flathatnews.com for more updates on this developing story._

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