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ASG Senate passes election commission guidelines form

Nyle+Arora+speaks+at+Associated+Student+Government+Senate.+The+Weinberg+freshman+was+confirmed+Wednesday+as+the+new+treasurer.
Nyle Arora speaks at Associated Student Government Senate. The Weinberg freshman was confirmed Wednesday as the new treasurer.

Nyle Arora speaks at Associated Student Government Senate. The Weinberg freshman was confirmed Wednesday as the new treasurer.

Kate Salvidio / Daily Senior Staffer

Kate Salvidio / Daily Senior Staffer

Nyle Arora speaks at Associated Student Government Senate. The Weinberg freshman was confirmed Wednesday as the new treasurer.

Gabby Birenbaum, Reporter

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Associated Student Government Senate passed reforms to election commission guidelines Wednesday.

The reforms were introduced last week by chief of staff Julia Shenkman and parliamentarian Henry Molnar. Shenkman, a Weinberg junior, said they were created by the election commission after meeting with both tickets from April’s election in an attempt to “streamline” the commission’s processes.

Major changes include distinguishing between major and minor infractions, prohibiting “harassment” of members of the election commission and voters, and restricting the chief of staff from endorsing a ticket.

Senator Alex Smith introduced an amendment, which passed unanimously, to strike a section the Weinberg sophomore found redundant and a clause pertaining to the commission’s authority to adjudicate potential violations.

Initially, one proposed reform stated, “The Election Commission shall have the authority to adjudicate only on any complaint that has potentially impacted the election.”

However, Smith’s amendment removed that clause. He said the ambiguous phrasing could lead to an incorrect interpretation in which the election commission could choose which infractions to rule on.

Smith said all infractions should be processed by the election commission, especially because of the new distinction between “strikes” and “violations,” in which only the more serious “strikes” could contribute to a campaign’s removal from the ballot. Under the change, a campaign won’t necessarily be substantially punished for a minor infraction, as could occur in the past.

“If a rule is violated, it should have to go through a process where it’s adjudicated and a punishment is given,” Smith said. “You cannot restrict it to some arbitrary measurement of impact on the election.”

Smith originally wanted to also strike a section that allowed the election commission to petition the Rules Committee to levy punishments not specified within the election commission guidelines, including impeachment and removal from office. Shenkman convinced him to drop that request from his amendment.

The amendment passed unanimously, and later, the amended election commission guidelines reform passed with every senator voting yes except for a single abstention.

Earlier, Senate approved Nyle Arora as treasurer and Maanas Bhatt as deputy chief of staff.

Arora, a Weinberg freshman, said as treasurer, he hopes to set up office hours in order to make the reimbursement process easier.

“As we all know, money makes the world go around,” Arora said. “I think managing smooth financial transactions can really do a lot to make ASG an efficient organization.”

Bhatt previously served on the A-status committee. Shenkman said she highly recommended him along with former chief of staff Lars Benson, vice president for A-status finances Izzy Dobbel.

Bhatt said he was excited to serve in his new role.

“I’m looking forward to working very closely with Julia and sort of being her right-hand man, as well as being at the disposal of ASG,” the Weinberg freshman said.

Later, Amy Prochaska, a Communication freshman, and Abigail Williams, a Weinberg freshman, were unanimously elected to the Advisory Committee on Investment Responsibility selection committee, which selects undergraduate students to serve on the ACIR.

A code change proposed by vice president for technology Spencer Colton that changed the name of his committee and title from “services” to “technology” was passed unanimously.

Email: gabriellebirenbaum2021@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @birenBOMB

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