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USAC may consider new candidate for Election Board chair

By Amanda Schallert

Jan. 17, 2014 1:24 a.m.

The original version of this article contained an error and has been changed. See the bottom of the article for additional information.

A new candidate for the undergraduate student government’s Election Board chair is expected to be reviewed by councilmembers Tuesday night after a lengthy search to fill the position.

If the USAC Appointments Review Committee forwards Anthony Padilla, a third-year biochemistry student, to the council with a majority vote, Padilla will be interviewed by the Undergraduate Students Association Council at its weekly meeting.

The USAC Election Board chair oversees the spring USAC elections. The chair must appoint other members of the Election Board, set the elections schedule and screen potential candidates to see if they are eligible to run for office.

Padilla submitted his application to USAC President John Joanino Thursday morning, after learning that the position was still vacant and later reaching out to former Election Board chair Dana Pede about the job.

Padilla has worked as a resident assistant on the Hill for the past two years and is a member of UCLA Badminton, and Together Educating and Advocating Community Health. He said he thinks his work as a resident assistant has helped him learn how to remain neutral and fair while evaluating debates.

He added that he thinks he is an impartial candidate with no affiliations with USAC or any councilmembers.

While filling out his application, Padilla said he could not list all the current USAC councilmembers and their positions. He said he only knew that Joanino was president and learned about USAC mostly through reading the Daily Bruin.

If appointed as Election Board chair, Padilla said he does not have plans for major reform to the election code, the guiding document for running USAC elections.

The bylaw-mandated deadline to appoint the Election Board chair was the first week of fall quarter, a requirement that has been a problem for past councils. Joanino, who is responsible for finding a qualified candidate for the job, originally brought candidate Jeronimo Ortega, a fourth-year Asian American studies student, to the USAC table near the end of fall quarter.

But following controversy over Ortega’s political impartiality, Joanino chose to push the appointment to winter quarter and start a new search for candidates.

Before Padilla applied for the position, one of the candidates for the Election Board position was J.D. Zelman, a fourth-year philosophy student who ran the student government elections at Moorpark College before he transferred to UCLA in fall 2012.

Despite his experience in student government and running elections, Joanino said he did not forward Zelman to the council because he is a friend of Internal Vice President Avi Oved and could be perceived as biased for the affiliation.

Oved and Zelman said they are just in the same fraternity and are not close friends.

Zelman said he is not affiliated with any USAC slate and is still interested in the position.

Compiled by Amanda Schallert, Bruin senior staff.

Correction: Anthony Padilla is no longer a member of UCLA Circle K.

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