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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

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SGA passes election reform bill, remains undecided on complaint structure


Correction: in the previous publication of the article, it was stated the election reform bill was not passed. That is incorrect; the bill was passed.

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SGA Sen. Nathan Alsbrooks, along with Sen. John Fields, presented the modified election code they coauthored to the SGA. | Justin Tijerina/The Cougar

SB-51003, the Election Reform and Transparency Act, dominated discussion among senators at the Student Government Association meeting Monday night. The bill was authored by Senators Nathan Alsbrooks, John Fields and Sepi Zimmer and modified by Attorney Gen. Clarita Montant to make the act “clear and concise” for candidates and first-time runners.

Another change includes the financial structure of SGA elections. In the previous Election Reform and Transparency Act, the monetary budget could not exceed $2,000. However, in the modified bill, the amount was changed to $1,000. The reason for this, according to Sen. Alsbrooks, is that some parties were able to spend $2,000, whereas smaller parties were only able to spend up to $1,000.

The biggest concern to the senators present at the meeting was the take out of judicial branch and the Election Trial Board. Many of the senators worry that the bias of the SGA leadership could affect the outcome of the election and process.

Alsbrooks said that no system is perfect, but he believes the new code is the best system available.

“What is more important? A process that is most effective or trying to alleviate every potential immoral action?” Alsbrooks said. “I would rather bet on the leadership in our courts. I trust our leadership’s ability and the quality of people we can bring to the table.  We don’t have to rely on a fundamentally flawed system.”

The election code was approved, however SGA will modify the complaint structure in January.

“The judicial process as it stands now is the most efficient. An additional check is certainly needed, but I had to produce something our President would sign,” Alsbrooks said.

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