USAC Election Board found to have violated constitution, election code
The Undergraduate Students Association Council Judicial Board found multiple violations that the USAC Election Board had committed. (Niveda Tennety/Daily Bruin)
April 14, 2019 11:08 pm
Student government election coordinators were found Friday to have violated their constitution and election code.
The Undergraduate Students Association Council Judicial Board found at a hearing Thursday the USAC Election Board failed to treat all candidates equally and to enforce campaign deadlines, in line with election guidelines.
Brandon Broukhim, the vice chair of the Associated Students UCLA Communications Board and a second-year public affairs and history student, filed the case petition after he was told he could not run for a general representative position after missing an unofficial April 1 deadline to submit campaign packets.
Election board chair Kyana Shajari pushed the deadline for campaign packets from March 18 to April 1 because she could not access the official election board email at the time of the deadline. However, the change was never officially approved by USAC and was only announced on Facebook.
Shajari was appointed as investigations director on Jan. 22. She replaced Richard White, who she said did not cooperate with her as she transitioned into the role.
The judicial board ruled any candidate who submitted their campaign packet after March 18 may not run in the 2019 election. Following the ruling, Shajari said she had to follow up with four candidates who may potentially be disqualified and will present her findings about their eligibility at Tuesday’s USAC hearing.
Broukhim said he thought the election board’s failure to provide all potential candidates with the same information meant the election process was not fair and equal for all students.
Aaron Boudaie, a fourth-year political science student and former USAC member, served as a representative for Broukhim at the hearing. He said because not all students had access to the new deadline Shajari had posted on Facebook, potential candidates like Broukhim were not given a fair chance at running for council.
Broukhim said after the hearing he thought the case was meant to show the shortcomings of the election board as a whole. He added he thought the hearing was about whether or not the campaign process was fair for all students.
Broukhim said after the ruling he thought the judicial ruling did not reflect the findings of the hearing. He also said he thought the election board had not been held accountable at the expense of the candidates who could potentially be disqualified.
Shajari said she thinks the ruling will only affect Broukhim. She added she does not think the election board will face any penalties for its code violations.
Abigail Chapman, chief justice of the judicial board, said in an email statement the board will release a post on Facebook on how it came to its decision within the next two weeks, as per judicial board rules.
Boudaie said he thinks the election board had not conducted equal outreach to all students and ultimately affected the quality of the election as whole.
“At the end of the day, candidates, potential candidates, the student body, they should not be penalized for the election board’s shortcomings,” Boudaie said.
Due to a shortage of candidates, a special election will be held for two general representative positions and for Financial Supports commissioner in fall quarter, said USAC President Claire Fieldman.