University Judiciary Committee hears presentation on student elections

Voting for University-wide elections begins Feb. 21

UJC’s next general body meeting will be held in conjunction with the Honor Committee Feb. 25 at 6:30 p.m. Nik Popli | Cavalier Daily

The University Judiciary Committee met Sunday to hear a presentation from the University Board of Elections chair on the upcoming University-wide elections. Students will have the opportunity to vote on six referenda proposed by the Student Council, Honor Committee and UBE. UJC will not have any referenda up for consideration in this year’s election.

Peter Bautz, a Law student and UJC chair, welcomed the Committee and said the campaign season will begin for the election of UJC representatives at the end of this week.

“We don’t have any ballot initiatives this year so we don’t have to worry about that, but at the same time, we do want to make sure people are voting because it’s important that we have votes in a representative democracy,” Bautz said. “We will be hosting some polling stations as well as doing some get out the vote efforts through Facebook.”

The UBE presentation was led by Casey Schmidt, a fourth-year College student, UBE Chair and UJC Senior Counselor. Schmidt discussed how the UBE interacts with the UJC. He further explained this year’s proposed amendments and gave a timeline for the upcoming campaign season.

“Our motto throughout all the things we do are running fair and free elections,” Schmidt said. “That means not being apart of those organizations and officers having control over the democratic process, and having elections that are transparent and run smoothly for all of our members.”

As an independent organization, UBE oversees the annual elections for class councils, school councils, Student Council, the Honor Committee and the University Judiciary Committee. They are also in charge of University-wide referenda.

“We don’t have any UJC referenda on the ballot this year but last year we did, and everyone who was here last year remembers building on that and watching that,” Schmidt said. “Anytime UJC has a referenda, UBE is the people responsible for dictating that process.”

Schmidt added that UBE also has the authority to determine if a candidate who commits an election rule violation before the ballot opens will still be eligible to appear on the ballot.

“Typically, we get a lot of benign rule violations,” Schmidt said. “Someone put a flyer in a place they’re not supposed to, you spray chalk instead of regular chalk, and so we don’t typically skip to the end of where we’re going to take you off the ballot — it’s usually a slap on the wrist, don’t do it again.”

Once the ballot opens and people begin casting votes, UBE is not allowed to remove a candidate from the ballot or deduct any votes.

Campaigning for the University-wide election begins Feb. 16 at 10 a.m. and the voting period will extend from Feb. 21 to Feb. 23. Students will get an email from UBE with instructions on how to vote online once voting begins. The deadline to submit a vote is Feb. 23 at 4 p.m. Results will be released Feb. 23 at 5:30 p.m. on the UBE website.

Schmidt said that the election for UJC representatives in the College and Engineering School will be competitive this year. However, there are at least one or two vacancies for UJC representative in the Architecture School, School of Continuing and Professional Studies, Nursing School, Medical School, Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and the McIntire School of Commerce. He encouraged students from those unfulfilled schools to contact Bautz after the election if they are interested in becoming a UJC representative. UBE will not be coordinating the election for the Darden School of Business or the School of Law. School councils within those schools will instead manage those elections.

While UJC does not have any proposed referenda this year, the ballot will feature four initiatives from Student Council, one initiative from the Honor Committee and one initiative from UBE.

Student Council has proposed amendments to its constitution that would change their transition timeline, amend the requirements for becoming a representative, add gender neutral pronouns and give the president veto power over the representatives. The Honor Committee has proposed a amendment that would incorporate more gender inclusive language into its constitution and UBE has a referenda that would slightly change the member appointment process.

UJC’s next general body meeting will be held in conjunction with the Honor Committee Feb. 25 at 6:30 p.m. Bautz said members of the two committees will be split into groups to discuss their roles on their respective committees

“We’re going to have you guys discuss some things like what are the differences between the positions and sort of these ideas of what we need to work better together as well as understanding our committees better,” Bautz said.

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