Friday, April 13, 2012

The 2012 UofL SGA Prez Election

The 2012 SGA Presidential Election

The Court Cases of the SGA during the elections for SGA happened on February 28, 2012, 4 days after the elections ended, and the numbers were generated, and figured out by Dean of Students Mike Martis. The students played Supreme Court in the Allen Courtroom at the U of L Law School building. The Allen Courtroom is an impressive place for Mock Court, with a Jury Box, and comfortable seating for at least a hundred, and it was the stage for the SGA election courtroom drama. Just like the big boys! Just like Bush v. Gore! Or Corrupt and Partisan Redistricting in Kentucky... ah we're just legislators... let the courts figure it out!

With the portraits of John Marshall, John Jay, and George Robertson hanging on the backdrop, Chief Justice Brandon McReynolds presided the court, along with 5 Associate Justices, with 1 absent, thus giving them the 6 justices they needed, in order to constitute a quorum for the Supreme Court per the 1977 U of L Constitution. 5 of U of L's Supreme Court are white males, and 1 blonde white female, and zero non-whites. The Supreme Court, with several veterans, after the legislature rewrote the rules for the Constitution this year, had to reclarify their roles, and wanted to either remain relevant, or wanted to set a precedent, which they did. Max Morley was grilled with questions from the 6 white Supreme Court justices, for nearly an hour, about seemingly irrelevant infractions, turning a finance report a day late, in order to get some invoice from some vendor for some $20 thing they spent it on, to make sure it was complete. “Are you sure you didn't just make it up?” asked one Associate Justice, when asking where the numbers on the report came from. I think $100 is the limit you're allowed to spend on a U of L SGA election, though that flies in the face of Citizens United … and that makes me wonder, who has more jurisdiction over the election processes at U of L? The U of L Supreme Court, or the US Supreme Court? With the Occupy movement, and with Taylor v. Beckham (1900) not clarifying who actually owns the office and the buildings in the public domain... the representatives, or the students ? … I'm still left wondering, who controls the Quad? SGA doesn't even control the Quad.

So yeah, I got questions with the legitimacy of the whole thing, but it all seemed professional, and legit, and then one side cheered, and the other side didn't object, and that's all she wrote. Both student lawyers were well spoken, but one of them seemed to know the process of the court better, and spoke loud and clear, and seemed to know his stuff well, or was better prepared. The other one wasn't as loud, and he dropped two of the cases, which were just as frivolous as the case that had won. The case against Osiah Graham seemed to have more teeth than the Finance Report case, since he had used some public email distribution system, and a complaint was filed (by who? Somebody from CardVision... but who? Justin Brandt? Austin Schwenker? Carrie Mattingly? Sirena Wurth? Some random student? That wasn't clear).

SGA has an internal communication system where they send each other updates, and orders, and proposed legislation, and the like, but they also have a public information system, where you can sign on with your U of L ID. This is called SharePoint. There probably isn't too many folks following SGA, which is why SharePoint usually doesn't have the latest SGA meeting, or election results. The election results were given to those who needed to know about it, SGA, the Cardinal, and nobody else. Messaging on the election results were governed with totalitarian precision. Since the general student body isn't the actual happenings at SGA (because isn't it better to just make the decisions FOR the student... who actually wants to get the whole study body involved? If they knew what these young adults were doing with their money, they might not like... then again, they may love it... but they'll never know, and neither with the students, and the Cardinal won't tell anybody, because they are pro-administration and has nobody picking up their papers, since print doesn't matter, and neither do any of their irrelevant stories).

The Supreme Court would exit the court, and deliberate, and without telling the public what their decision was, carry on with the next case, because he didn't want it to turn into a “who's winning?” type thing, like a baseball game. Instead, they were going to hear each of the 4 lawsuits put forth by Justin Brandt's CardVision and Max Morley's CardUnite one by one, deliberate in between each, and go on with the night in that manner. After 2 cases, Max Morley gave the cue to end the flogging, probably due to confidence in the cases put forth, or maybe disillusionment with the court, and his lawyer dropped the last cases. So CardVision had two charges put on them, and it was up to the Supreme Court to decide who, if anybody, was going to be docked votes. Another interesting thing they did, was that opened the results while they were deliberating for the last time, and this opens a floodgate of possible vote tampering, had CardVision won by enough votes, and were docked to a point to where they were not the winners. But since the CardVision slate hadn't generated enough votes, they lost by 300 or so, and they were docked 100 or so votes, so the vote dock didn't change the outcome of the election, everybody seemed to accept the Supreme Court's role in the election arbitration, with no contestation, that I know, from Max Morley, or the rest of the CardUnion slate, which anyone had a right to contest, at least 6 hours after the decision was made, and I'm unaware of anything being filed since then.

Everybody on the CardUnite slate were hit for the 6.5% vote dock, including those running for Senate. This left me wondering what the advantage of being on a slate is, if you're the Senator. The Top 4 I particularly paid close attention to, but the Senators were too many, and I ended up voting for one person I knew, and another person who asked me to vote for them, and with her being the only person to solicit my vote, I agreed. This same woman, right before I walked by, asked a waddling, overly bloated man, who looked like a student, if he was going to vote for the SGA elections, and he said, in a real dickish way, “Absolutely not!” Then as he was wandering away, looked back, and smiled, and said, “But you have a nice day anyways!” as if a sprinkle of sugar could numb the sour. But in a way, he captured the general sentiment of the student body, because 90% of them didn't even bother to vote, which is worse than Kentucky's turnout (28%), and America's (45%), so that bodes miserable for the future of democracy, and it gives no government in the State democratic legitimacy, as if that was necessary for the lure of power.

It seems like a lot of rigamarole because there was really only two groups of folks running, with nobody else interested in the SGA, except those who were already in it, and the flyers and literature and campaigning was minimal. The campaign, besides the debate, which didn't exactly have fireworks, was boring, since Travis Gault dropped out, and there was very little active, real, on the ground, campaigning, and engaging the students in their Causes. In fact, I hope they all work together, because there aren't enough active students who are participating in their government. Right now, there is a position open for an Associate Justice to the Supreme Court.

Overall, the only problem I have with the whole process is how they decides the case as the same time as they opened up the results, which could be used to screw one candidate over the other, and instead of the process working that way, what should happen, next year, or any other time it happens, is they should come back out, give the verdict, and then open the results, which are in a marked envelope from the Dean's Office. This way, by having the verdict read outloud before the election results are opened, this insures that a corrupt Supreme Court won't get their person elected over one who was the actual will of the people... or at least the majority of the 10% of the Student Body who voted... I also think that Max Morley should have pressed his last two cases, because that could have allowed the Court to dole out punishments to everybody, and set many precedents, so everybody will always remember what the McReynold's Court did here and now, and there and later, since it will carry over to the next year. I also think that the vote docking tactic is a uniquely U of L SGA thing. I've never heard of it used anywhere, local, state, or federal. By the drama generated by the Supreme Court SGA Election finale, at the Allen Court, in the Law School Building, it's clear that one precedent that will be followed is that filing lawsuits to the Supreme Court is going to be a staple of U of L SGA Presidential elections from here on out... because of the “Morley Decision”.

No comments:

Post a Comment