Associated Students Beat Reporter
Associated Students President Sophia Armen vetoed a bill to restructure the elections code early Tuesday morning that Senate had passed during their meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 6.
The bill, which was created by the AS Elections Committee, would create a three-week recruitment period in Winter Quarter and create regulations on who is allowed to run.
In her veto statement, Armen states that her main reason for the veto is that she does not agree with the content of the bill, nor with the process by which it was enacted, as people directly involved in elections wrote it.
“Such content creates unfair advantages for incumbent elected officials, and the unorthodox process by which elected officials who seek to gain from this code speaks highly of the current problematic atmosphere of the Associated Student elected representatives, of which I am not afraid to shed light on, despite pressure to remain censored,” said Armen in the statement.
In addition, she questions the ability of the bill to allow for a break in the two-party system our elections generally consist of.
“Essential to this veto is the reality this bill creates obstacles for emerging and differing voices,” Armen states. “It disenfranchises independent candidates, newly emerging parties, and entrenches a bi-party system, although other campuses have multiple parties or even none at all.”
However, due to confusion at the Senate meeting which did not officially end due to a break in quorum, as of press time there is controversy over whether the veto stands or not.
“Due to a very convoluted ending of the last meeting and a procedural vote which failed to adequately enable the correct process I am in limbo right now as to if the veto will still stand and have to wait on direction from the Internal Vice President [Mayra Segovia],” said Armen. “For accuracy the Senate will have to answer to these unordinary series of events and will be clarified ultimately there.”
In addition, if the veto stands, Armen believes the Senate will likely overturn it.
“I am exercising my right to veto because there is an inherent conflict of interest by the members who worked actively to create the final version of the code, of which the Elections Committee itself has shared sentiments of being disempowered by the process of drafting of legislation, and the ‘weakest’ voice in its inception, a huge indicator that even our most objective and central committee to the process has felt left out of the conversation,” Armen states.
Whether the bill and the veto still stand was decided in a meeting with the AS executive officers on Tuesday night.
“I have full confidence in the power and agency of the student body, and it is such will that I will serve, not the political lobbying or maneuvering of those implicated in the Elections process,” Armen states.