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By Rachel Carasso
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 23, 1998

Election code change may be unconstitutional

The Associated Students Senate made changes to its Elections Code this semester even though ASUA's constitution states alterations must be made prior to the end of the fall semester.

The Senate voted Jan. 21 to raise campaign expenditure limits by $25, prohibit off-campus campaigning and require that all information submitted by a candidate to the elections commission be public record.

Associated Students President Gilbert Davidson said although ASUA's constitution states, "All Elections Code revisions shall be made prior to the end of the fall semester, immediately preceding the semester in which the elections shall be held," he does not believe changes to the code this semester are unconstitutional.

"At the last meeting of the fall semester, we approved the Elections Code but tabled the changes until the spring semester," Davidson said. "This has been done for several years now and follows the rules of parliamentary procedure."

He said Robert's Rules of Order allows the Senate to table measures if it is not ready to vote.

"There were no procedures violated - per se," Davidson said.

"This will be one of the things I will tell the new president - to get things done sooner," he said. "In terms of the candidates being victimized - I don't think so."

If an ASUA candidate were to challenge the constitutionality of the changes, Davidson said he does not know what ASUA's Supreme Court would decide.

He said candidates who have election-related problems can appeal to ASUA Elections Commissioner Marcos Hernandez. If Hernandez and Davidson cannot remedy the situation, a candidate can appeal to the court.

ASUA's constitution allows any University of Arizona student to ask the ASUA Supreme Court for an opinion on any issue of constitutionality.

Each year, election issues are brought before the court, Davidson said.

He said if the Supreme Court were to hear an Elections Code appeal, it would not call for a new election.

"Everyone (the candidates were) at the same starting point," he said. "When the Supreme Court looks at these things, it wants to make sure it's fair to everyone."

Hernandez said because fall semester's Memorial Student Union referendum consumed much of the Senate's meeting time, he was forced to use winter break to consider Election Code changes.

"Gilbert tabled the changes so that I could have more time to look into what exactly needed to be done," Hernandez said.

Davidson said it would not have been beneficial for the Senate to pass a code with incomplete election procedures.

"There was just no way to get it all done (last semester)," he said. "It was out of our control."

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