Wednesday, January 29

USAC candidate sanctions fall drastically from last year

Undergraduate Students Association Council election board chair Kyana Shajari released the seven sanctions from last week's election. This is a drastic decrease in sanctions from previous years. (Liz Ketcham/Assistant Photo editor)

This year’s undergraduate student government found candidates violated almost 90% fewer election regulations than last year.

The Undergraduate Students Association Council election board issued a total of seven sanctions, the lowest number of sanctions in a USAC election in recent years. The election board is charged with making sure all candidates follow the proper procedures during the election. Last year, the board issued 56 sanctions.

USAC election code section 2.10.4 states the election board must make sanctions accessible to the public. In past years, the election board has updated sanctions in real time. All of this year’s sanctions were released to the Daily Bruin in bulk May 7. As of this story’s publication, the election board has not released the sanctions on other public platforms.

The council changed election board personnel several times in the months leading up to the election. Election board chair Kyana Shajari said the delays left her in a difficult position, trying to make up a deficit left by ousted chair Richard White. The election saw some procedural issues, in part due to these extenuating circumstances.

The sanctions themselves were relatively straightforward.

The election board evaluated 19 petitions for sanctions, but chose not to issue sanctions in the majority of the cases. Of the successful petitions, six came from the same three petitioners.

Only three of this year’s 16 candidates received sanctions. Presidential candidate Millen Srivastava’s campaign accounted for more than half of the sanctions issued this year.

All of the sanctions dealt with issues with campaign materials, according to documents from the election board. Candidates posted material in off-limits locations or online without the appropriate tags and logos in violation of election code. None of the offenses were as extreme as voter coercion, which was a major source of controversy surrounding last year’s election.

The most common sanction was limiting campaign time. Sanctions ranged from two- to 30-hour campaigning bans.

One secondary sanction was imposed on Srivastava for violating her campaigning ban sanction. In this case, the election board mandated that she make a social media post about her other violations and explain how these violations can be avoided in the future.

The new council was sworn in Tuesday night.

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