ASUPS Senate halts polls, reevaluates voting process

The Associated Students of the University of Puget Sound Senate halted fall ASUPS elections that started in early October after miscommunications and errors occurred during the beginning stages of the process. These errors had also been made, unnoticed, in past years.

“So as of right now, the original election was halted… by the Senate,” ASUPS President Paige Maney said. “Because of basically major miscommunications within the Elections Committee, that actually are not anything super new to ASUPS.”

The Senate chose to halt the fall elections this year due to these miscommunications, which led to the mistake of accepting candidate applications past the due dates.

“Senate decided to halt these elections and basically re-run it again because of a mistake that I made, in that I accepted election packet material after the deadline,” ASUPS Vice President Marc Fagaragan said.

Miscommunications between the ASUPS Vice President, the Elections Committee and Senate ensued once this mistake was made.

Throughout the years, this error was repeatedly unnoticed by ASUPS representatives, until this fall. The Senate took action and created a policy against it.

“It was kind of a process that had gotten really sloppy,” Maney said. “It was nothing, like, malicious or anything. It was just something that needed to be fixed.”

Election packets were accepted while the ballot was already out and polls were starting. This created problems of inequality in terms of the treatment of candidates and undermined the seriousness of the responsibility of positions within ASUPS.

“I’m really glad it happened, now it’s like a new precedent. I think it’ll really help the morale—just kind of reaffirming the seriousness of ASUPS, how seriously it needs to be taken and kind of understanding the commitment behind it,” Maney said.

Everything about the new elections process was the same, with the exception of later deadlines. Campaigning began later and polls opened at a later date due to the halt.

“I’m going to have to apologize to everyone. We did have to halt and re-do elections based on a mistake that I made,” Fagaragan stated.

The election process was restarted and candidates were allowed to use their materials previously turned in. While no one new submitted an application for candidacy, the new elections were once again opened to anyone who wanted to apply in order to level the playing field.

“In a positive light, it allows students to have the opportunity to run and think about it more if they didn’t think about it at the earlier deadline,” Fagaragan said. “And it allows all the students to have a fair shot at turning in their application materials if they do want to run.”

This affected the student body because there was an extended period of time when the Student Senate only contained nine voting members. Puget Sound students were temporarily underrepresented, but will simply have their representatives voted in when the polls close.

“It’s a big deal in that the elections process is nothing small, it’s very much a big thing. It matters that someone is representing you on ASUPS because that’s important,” Maney said.

The halt in elections allowed ASUPS representatives to identify a flaw in the process’ system and correct it. This year the goal of the ASUPS executive team was to have meaningful connections with continuous improvement.

“I’ve taken this error of mine and this experience as an opportunity to learn and grow from it, because it really opened my eyes to just making sure that I focus on the little things that make our student body government run,” Fagaragan said.

Election campaigning continued normally with all campaigning packets in. Students voted throughout the last week of elections, and polls close today, Friday, Oct. 31.

“We are patiently and eagerly waiting for these new Senators to join us in our leadership team,” Fagaragan said.