SA candidate replaces running mate for election

The Student Assembly Elections Commission ruled early Thursday morning that SA presidential candidate Sarah Rojas ’10 will be allowed to replace her former running mate, Austin Wiese ’10, with Ryan Ruzic J.D. ’11 for the March 26 election.

Wiese withdrew from the race 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.”

Elections Commission Chairman Matt Beato ’09 said the commission analyzed pertinent bylaws and judicial precedents to determine if Rojas could remain on the ballot and if Ruzic could replace Wiese.

“The decision was made after an extensive review of all relevant Student Assembly regulations and precedents,” Beato 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 [the Election] Code which it appeared to conflict with or supplement.”

The Election Commission’s seven-page ruling on the situation outlines the rules and regulations dictating SA election law.

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 final deadline to change the election ballot. Ruzic filed his candidacy forms five minutes later.

The decision extensively summarizes the differences between the SA Constitution and the Election Code, as well as any judicial precedents.

The greatest controversy surrounding 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 at 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 that Ruzic is 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 ruling concluded. “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.”

Ruzic served as student body president for two years during his undergraduate studies at the University of Illinois.

“Honestly, I think he is one of the most experienced people for this position,” Rojas said Thursday. “There’s so much to do to connect grad [students] and undergrads.”
Ruzic did not return requests for comment.

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


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