Friday, March 23, 2007
For the record, I didn't call JCB a homo, it was a funny image I've wanted to use for a long time. Also I don't use the term's "gay" or "homo" to discriminate against gays & lesbians, I use them as popular culture does to poke fun, like MTV does, like VH1 does, like Howard Stern does, like all the Kevin Smith movies have. Still, I find it quite humorous that Gays & Lesbians in SG circles want to attack me for using controversial terms. I also love the fact that Frank Bracco is asking me to write retractions and that a new blog is up and running -- whether it will 'compete' with TR is a misnomer, as I'll do everything in my power to divert traffic their way. Truthfully, I've been on top, no, actually I have been the UF SG Blogging for over a year now. I saw Attila's and Concerned Citizen come and go, I just hope that this new blog will stand the test of at least a month. If it can go a month, I believe it will survive for a while, though the timing leaves a little to be desired.
Tonight is Pete's going away party, tomorrow and Sunday I'll be sure to hang out with my pledge brother as well. A part of me wants to get up and follow him to D.C., he wants the same, but I've already been certified in one subject area and offered two f/t jobs for next year. I'll teach for a couple of years and then possibly and finally apply to law schools and/or stay for the long haul -- I love teaching.
Peter's interview will be up tonight at around 2-3am after I get home from the party. I'm on a cut phase, so I'll prolly take a 16oz Gatorade with two scoops of Whey and some Glutamine powder in it and take swigs off of that all night. Beer and liquor are poison for what I'm trying to do.
Also check your emails as I'll be writing an open letter to Alachua Mayor Jean Calderwood in addition updating my latest site http://www.LosIndocumentados.com a site aimed at preserving Hiapanic/Latino Culture and protecting Illegal Immigrants from undue bigotry and harassment. The site has been up less than 24hrs and I'm hoping it will be huge! It's a work in progress, but I hope to be mentioned by fascist radio & tv show hosts very, very shortly. :)
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Who was it that said Chomp The Vote was under new [serious] leadership? I mean I used to get all worked up by the ineptness of some mainstream party appointees, but after a year in office and almost two years observing from afar, I can honestly say that many well-connected bureaucrats could easily fuck up a cup of coffee.
When will people learn... with an SG PR Committee ready to work and an overzealous Gator Machine, overzealous in flapping their gums to naive constituents expecting more out of CTV, we see a cheap b&w flier, poorly formatted, & with a lede that warranted a Radikal-reader to take a photo and send it in. I don't know which is more pathetic, John Boyles' ineffective, lameduck administration or Ryan Moseley's incoming crew of dimwits & flunkies.
Let's set the record straight. I have always liked JCB and have been very grateful for his many contributions to the blog, however, I feel that the end result of his complaint seriously weakened the democratic tradition in SG at UF. I attribute this to an incompetent Supreme Court, a politically-charged Elections Committee that castigated PANTS on what's clearly been an established double standard, and last but not least, I attribute a great disservice to the Student Body by way of an inept administration. I find it most troubling (despite my liking of Fmr. Sen. Brett) that after soundly defeating PANTS at the polls, that the Gator Party would go play the role of desperate party and file motions and cases in the hopes of taking every seat (even if this means robbing the student body out of their lone Indie pic). This past action by way of Gator was most shameful, perhaps topping the treachery of it's high Indie Turncoat population.
From An Email:
"However, even if Cupoli agreed, we'd have the same problem that the online voting initiative faced when this same SC held a meeting in violate of Sunshine laws (the infamous no-notice meeting)-- Dean Gene found there that even though the SC violated law, what was done is done and the deadline for recourse had passed. By the time you read this, the EC will have validated the results, and the senate certified them. It's law now. Unless PTI [Patricia Telles-Irvin] (Machen's delegate to sign off on all SG law) refuses to sign off. Unfortunately though, I don't think she gives two shits about defending Pants or the principle of a free and fair democracy."
at the University of Florida
is hereby pronounced:
Dead On Arrival.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
SUPREME COURT OF THE STUDENT BODY
In re: J. Clayton Brett v. The Pants Party
Heard and Decided March 20, 2007
Opinion Published March 20, 2007
JUSTICES: GAVRICH, C.J., KLEIN J., VIALPANDO, J. concur
The Supreme Court of the Student Body [the “Court”] here reviews the Election Commission’s formal recommendation to disqualify. We have jurisdiction per § 728.2(d) of the Student Body Statutes.
1. Procedural History
On February 28, 2007, the Elections Commission [the “Commission”] heard arguments in the case of John Clayton Brett v. The Pants Party, Case No. 2007-S-0007. The Commission made three findings: (1) The Commission denied the Pants Party’s motion to defer the hearing. (2) The Commission held that the Chair of the Commission has the authority to issue a cease and desist order. (3) The Commission held that the Pants Party’s distribution of “I Voted” stickers violated § 761.21 of the Student Body Statutes. After making its findings, the Commission formally recommended to the Court that the Pants Party be disqualified from the Spring 2007 Student Government elections in accordance with § 723.2(d).
On March 6, 2007, the Pants Party appealed the Commission’s finding that the distribution of “I Voted” stickers violated § 761.21. On March 8, 2007, the Court heard the Pants Party’s appeal and affirmed. On March 20, 2007, the Court held a hearing to review the Commission’s formal recommendation to disqualify. Because the Pants Party violated the cease and desist order properly issued by the Chair of the Commission in accordance with § 723.4 of the Student Body Statutes, the Court hereby declares the Pants Party formally disqualified from the Spring 2007 Student Government elections.
The purpose of today’s hearing was to determine whether or not to disqualify the Pants Party or its candidates for violations of the Commission’s cease and desist order. In making today’s decision, the Court considered evidence presented at the Commission’s hearing on March 1, as well as testimony given today by representatives of the Pants Party and the Gator Party. After considering the evidence of record, the Court agrees that disqualification of the Pants Party is the appropriate penalty in this case.
According to § 723.4 of the Student Body Statutes, the Chair of the Commission may grant a preliminary order that a political party or candidate cease and desist from the distribution of campaign material where the Chair of the Commission deems that a preponderance of evidence leads to a conclusion that there is a strong likelihood of a violation of the Student Body Statutes. In order to maintain order during the electoral process and prevent chaos, the authority of the Commission must be respected by the political parties and candidates that choose to participate in the elections. In this case, Pants Party leadership deliberately violated the Commission’s cease and desist order. In doing so, Pants Party leadership undermined the authority of the Elections Commission and the integrity of the electoral process. Due to the severity of the violation, this Court agrees that disqualification of the party is the appropriate sanction.
At the disqualification hearing, Pants Party representative, David Meyrowitz, testified that, in his opinion, disqualification of the party was too severe a sanction. Instead, he suggested that a fine or disqualification of Pants Party leadership would be more appropriate. We disagree. Although fines are appropriate for minor violations of the Student Government Election Code, the Court does not believe that a fine would sufficiently penalize the Pants Party in this case. Moreover, the Court does not believe that a fine would deter violations of cease and desist orders in the future.
The Court believes that Mr. Meyrowitz’s second suggested penalty to disqualify only Pants Party leadership would also be insufficient. The Court believes that such a decision would not deter future party leaders from committing violations. In other words, if only party leadership was disqualified for violations of the Commission’s cease and desist orders, party leaders could deliberately violate the laws, while their candidates win and take office. The Court is not willing to leave that loophole open.
In conclusion, parties and candidates are not free to disregard the authority of the Commission or the laws provided in the Student Government Election Code, including the law regarding cease and desist orders as in this case. The Court is concerned that any punishment other than disqualification of the Pants Party may render the Commission’s cease and desist power obsolete and may result in future violations. Therefore, because the Pants Party violated the cease and desist order properly issued by the Chair of the Commission in accordance with § 723.4 of the Student Body Statutes, the Court hereby declares the Pants Party formally disqualified from the Spring 2007 Student Government elections. Note, however, that it is not the Court’s intention to disqualify the individual candidates or members of the Pants Party from participating in any future Student Government elections.
Lastly, the Court recognizes that, due to our decision today, one graduate student Senate seat will be vacant after the certification of the Spring 2007 election results. This seat will be considered vacant and must be filled after validation of the election results by the normal procedure of the Student Senate Replacement and Agenda Committee. That said, the Court notes that any and all former Pants Party candidates disqualified by the Court’s decision today are eligible to fill the open seat. In this case, Alan Passman was the only Pants Party candidate to win his seat. There is nothing in the Student Body statutes that would prevent Mr. Passman from filling the vacant seat. Thus, if he chooses to apply, the Court recommends that the Student Senate Replacement and Agenda Committee consider Mr. Passman to fill the vacant seat.
CAMPBELL, J. dissents:
Today this Court decided to prevent Mr. Alan Passman from taking his seat in the Student Senate. Mr. Passman was elected by majority vote via a democratic process. After Mr. Passman learned of the Election Commission’s cease and desist order, he followed the “law” and obeyed the order without question. His maturity should be commended, not punished. There is nothing even remotely Constitutional or fair about the Court’s decision.
Let us be realistic here. Mr. Passman, not the Pants Party, is being punished. The Pants Party no longer exists. According to the testimony I heard at today’s “sentencing” hearing, their leaders are soon to graduate and none were elected to office. Mr. Passman is being punished merely because he “associated” with the wrong crowd. He is truly “guilty by association.”
Apparently this Court wants to set precedent and send a message saying, “thou shall not violate a cease and desist order.” In reality, the message we are sending is: “You may as well violate a cease and desist order because you’re going to be punished regardless.” I am not saying that we cannot disqualify someone from taking seat; I am saying that this is not the time to do it.
Legal rhetoric aside, what bothers me the most is the fact that this decision could actually harm Mr. Passman in the “real world.” A seat in the university’s Student Senate is a good bullet on a resume. It demonstrates civic involvement and leadership potential. It could make the difference between being hired or not. By “sending a message” to the Pants Party, we are actually taking a line off his resume. A line, I add, that he earned. He campaigned for office and won his seat. As soon as he found out the “I Voted” stickers were contraband he stopped disseminating them. He should be allowed to take his seat, represent those who voted for him and tell potential employers that he was a member of the University of Florida Student Senate.
I am truly disappointed with the majority of this Court.
GATOR WINS -- EVERYTHING!
You won the whole god damn senate slate, you won the executive, why the fuck did you have to file that complaint and rob the GDI's of their single victory? Tonight I'm sure there will be toasts and laughter, cigar smoke and green bottles all over the place, inebriated statesmen will get all gushy over their full sweep. R&A members will pick another Gator/Swamp/Innovate/Ignite SYSTEM TOOL to replace Senator Passman...perhaps Pedro Morales will be all over the phones like last time (when he was pushing for Weiqi to be put on the slate) with a new person to help out of the kindness of his noble heart. Independents don't tell System Parties who to put on their slate? I wonder about people...
"We didn't make deals"....yeah and FBK didn't slander Grapski.
Monday, March 19, 2007
Special Q&A w/lone PANTS Party Senator-Elect Alan Passman. Senator-Elect Passman, a winner at the polls, may not be sworn in due to an elections complaint filed by Gator Party leader J. Clayton Brett. The Election Commission has ruled in Brett's favor and disqualification has been recommended to the Supreme Court.
This interview comes on the Eve of the decision. Students elected Passman, but if the Courts uphold the Election Commission's recommendation, then the Senate's R&A Committee will elect a senator over the people's wishes. Here's to Democracy and Single-Party Corruption.
TR: When did you arrive at UF? Tell us about your perception(s) of the Graduate Experience at UF?
Senator-Elect Passman: arrived at UF in August 2003 as a transfer student in Engineering. I completed my B.S. in Electrical Engineering in May 2006 and I'm finishing up my M.S. in Electrical Engineering. I enjoyed my time here as an undergraduate and wanted to continue on as a graduate student. The main difference between undergrad and grad school for me is that I'm now working with more international students from around the world, and it's a rewarding experience. Other than that, it’s mainly been an extension of my undergraduate work at UF. The easiest way for me to sum it up is: it's great to be a Florida Gator!
TR: Why did you interview with the Pants Party?
Senator-Elect Passman: I interviewed with the Pants Party because I believe(d) in Bruce and wanted to support him and what he was trying to do. Initially I had no intention of running as I'm already very active and have many responsibilities within the College of Engineering and graduate school is pretty demanding. However, after further discussing things with Bruce and then taking time to think it over, I decided to throw my name into the race.
TR: How active were you during the elections? What if any lessons or insightful observations did you acquire as a result of your work in the campaign?
Senator-Elect Passman: The two weeks prior to election I was out in Turlington doing general campaigning for the party. The days during the election I was out in front of Weil Hall and, mainly, NEB trying to help the party and the Engineering candidates. I chose not to do a lot of the typical things such as creating facebook flyers, a facebook group or speaking at student organizations. Instead, I focused on promoting the party in general and speaking with and listening to students on an individual basis.
This was my first real encounter with UF SG, other than being a voter, so it was neat to get a closer look at how both campaigns were run and to get out and speak to many UF students. It’s fairly well known that students are apathetic towards SG elections, and it’s really unfortunate. I was happy to speak to some students who haven’t voted before and to be able to get them interested in the elections and the issues and, ultimately, to the polls.
TR: In your opinion did Pants run a clean campaign? Did Gator?
Senator-Elect Passman: In my opinion, and from what I know, yes for both. I don't have much knowledge on what happened behind-the-scenes on either side.
TR: After winning your senate seat, do you think it's ethical of the Elections Committee/Supreme Court to strip you of your office-elect and to defy the wishes of the student body? What are your thoughts on the present situation?
Senator-Elect Passman: Whether it's ethical or not of the EC/SC - I don't know. I don’t think the punishment fits the crime – and that’s assuming you are in the opinion that there was misconduct. Taking away my senate seat is not so much a mark against me or the Pants Party, but a disservice to the graduate students, denying them of their elected representation. If removed, I'd be disappointed for them, not myself.
TR: Some members of Gator claim you are angry with Bruce and/or Pants over your possible dq. I don't believe this to be the case, however, the ball is in your court. Could you give us your take?
Senator-Elect Passman: Anyone claiming that I am angry with Bruce and/or the Pants Party does not know me and is completely wrong. Bruce and I are, have been, and will continue to be great friends. I'm proud of him and the campaign he ran and of the Pants Party as a whole. Anyone claiming otherwise doesn’t have a clue.
TR: Should you be disqualified will you continue to be involved in the Independent community & SG? Or will this injustice remove you from the campus political scene?
Senator-Elect Passman: If removed I will continue to be active and involved within my college and representing all engineering students (grad and undergraduate), just not through SG. However, my impending graduation will make this experience both my first and last in SG politics.
TR: Should the voice of the students not be silenced, meaning should you retain your elected office, should we expect the lone Pants' senator to be another face in the crowd - or- will you work with others but speak out for Grads & Indies along the way?
Senator-Elect Passman: If I keep my position I have no objections on working with others. However, I will work for and speak towards whatever I feel is in the best interests of my constituents and the student body as a whole.
TR: Any parting words?
Senator-Elect Passman: Thanks for your interest!
Thursday, March 15, 2007
A Great Brief; Check It Out. Makes me wish I could fast-forward my life into law school so I too could write one. This was submitted anonymously. Also, my deepest apoogies for the internal error with the comments on the Voter Board post, I deleted and re-published so it seems good to go now.
Case No. 2007-S-0007
STATEMENT OF FACTS
On February 27, 2007, complainant John Clayton Brett (“complainant”) witnessed William Foster distributing “I voted” stickers in Turlington Plaza. At the time Mr. Foster wore a Pants Party t-shirt and held a banner advertising the stickers’ distribution. Upon the complainant filing complaint with the Elections Commission (“Commission”), the Chair of that body issued a cease and desist order to “the Pants Party, all of their candidates, volunteers, or representatives”. Supervisor of Elections distributed the cease and desist order to the Party, who protested the order as Mr. Foster continued handing out “I voted” stickers after removing his Pants Party t-shirt.
The Commission met on February 28, 2007 to hear evidence on the filed complaint. The Gator Party entered into evidence various photos and information culled from Facebook.com as proof of Mr. Foster’s membership in the Pants Party. The Commission ruled that the Pants Party violated U.F. Stat. 762.21 because the stickers gave students a benefit not authorized by student body law and also violated the cease and desist order issued by the Chair under U.F. Stat. 723.4.
I. The decision below that the Pants Party violated U.F. Stat. 762.21 should be reversed because the “I voted” stickers in question did not confer a benefit not authorized by statute upon any member of the student body in order to influence voting behavior.
The Commission’s ruling alleges three benefits received from the stickers. The first benefit alleged is that students who obtained the stickers would not be on the receiving end of campaigning from the opposing party, therefore limiting those students knowledge of the respective platforms and diminishing the chances that they would vote. Disheartingly enough, the Commission advocates that a diminution in the chances that a student would interact with a party member is a “benefit” to be conferred. Assuming but not deciding that this value judgment is correct, the record fails to show that any Gator Party member did in fact refrain from campaigning from those students who possessed stickers. Nor does the record show any proof that obtaining a sticker diminished the likelihood that an interested student could learn about the opposing party’s platform, given the hundreds of candidates and volunteers on campus on February 27th and the freely available media coverage of the respective campaigns in newspapers and on the campaign websites. Moreover, the contention that a lack of knowledge regarding a platform influences a student’s decision to vote is directly contradicted in the Commission’s second discussion of benefit.
The Commission’s ruling alleges that once a student obtains a sticker, that student no longer has any reason to vote, which undermines the electoral process. The basis for this ruling is allegations that student organizations on campus have voter boards which use the stickers to track who voted in their group. However, no factual evidence supports these allegations. As the Commission denied a motion under U.F. Stat. 727.01, neither party had the allowed 48 hours to subpoena students to support or deny this claim of voter boards. The complainant should have failed under the “preponderance of the evidence” test under U.F. Stat. 725.3.
Assuming that factual proof showed that students only voted to receive the stickers and place them on such voting boards, then the benefit conferred must be one authorized by the student body. As stated in U.F. Stat. 711.2 and 717.0, the Supervisor of Elections is in charge of conducting the elections (including instructing poll workers) within the parameters of the Student Government Election Code. If the only incentive to vote is to receive these stickers, then the poll workers, under the instructions of the Supervisor of Elections, must give the stickers out for just the reason stated in the Commission’s ruling, indicating that such a benefit must be authorized by student body law. (Note: the wording of U.F. Stat. 761.21 indicates that only the benefit itself must be authorized by student body law, not the manner in which the benefit is distributed or received).
The third justification for the Commission’s ruling is a reiteration of the first justification: that the stickers would keep opposing party members from campaigning to students who obtained the stickers and that campaigning may have occurred while the Pants Party distributed said stickers. Again, no factual proof was offered that either speculative event occurred. Assuming without deciding that factual evidence exists to support the claim, the ruling does not describe in any way how such a situation conferred a benefit to a student.
In order for this claim to succeed, the complainant had to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the stickers conferred a benefit upon the students and thereby influenced their vote. This burden was not met. The Commission’s ruling stated that the stickers give “a benefit by discouraging potential voters from voting”, yet fails to show that such an idea is factually true. Nor does it posit any theory on how discouraging voting confers a benefit upon a student. The ruling also alleges that the stickers violate 762.21 because it suppresses voter turnout and undermines the democratic process. However, no such standard is even contemplated by statute and is irrelevant in this particular matter. The Commission’s ruling regarding 762.21 should be reversed.
II. The decision below that the Pants Party violated a cease and desist order from the Chair under U.F. Stat. 723.4 should be reversed because the Chair’s order was invalid and therefore had no binding effect upon the parties.
Upon receiving the cease and desist order, the Pants Party noted their disagreement with the ruling with the Supervisor of Elections, specifically with regard to the stickers being considered campaign material. In order for 723.4 to apply, the Chair’s order must regard campaign material as defined by 700.4(d). The stickers are not campaign material because they were not used for the purpose of supporting a candidate or political party. If that were so, then the poll workers would not be handing them out. The complainant argued and the Commission agreed that the stickers constituted campaign material because they were handed out while campaigning. However, the judicial branch is bound by the intent of the legislative branch in enacting these codes; nowhere does 700.4(d) state that campaign material consists of all material handled while campaigning (even though the definition of campaigning is readily accessible in 700.4 ©).Having previously decided that the stickers in question violated 762.21 because they conferred a material benefit, the Commission then takes an illogical leap in stating that they are also campaign material. At no other point in recent electoral history has the Commission decided that a material in question could be both a campaign material and a violation of 762.21 simultaneously.
As the Supervisor of Elections correctly noted to the Pants Party at the time of issuing the cease and desist order, only the Elections Commission can decide what is and what is not campaign material. The Chair may not make that determination on her own and since there was doubt as to whether these stickers would be classified as campaign material, she improperly applied 723.4.723.4 may only be used when “a preponderance of available evidence leads to a conclusion that both: (a) There is a strong likelihood of a violation on a complaint brought by the offended party and (b) where the material is so offensive that it may irreparably harm the offended party or candidate.”As previously discussed in Section I, a preponderance of the evidence in this situation did not show that the complaint constituted a violation. There was no precedent for this scenario for any party or member of the Commission to rely upon. Although the complainants may argue that the Supervisor of Elections warned Mr. Foster about this issues prior to the complaint, the Supervisor of Elections has no interpretative or binding power regarding the election codes.
In addition, this material was not “so offensive” as to justify a cease and desist order. The purpose of this statute was to protect candidates and parties from engaging in libel or slander against other candidates or parties which could irreparably damage their reputations or electoral chances under the guise of having no reason to cease until a Commission hearing could take place. The “I voted” stickers were not damaging the reputations of the members of the other party; they do not contain any information or opinions of any kind. Nor were they irreparably damaging to the opposing party’s electoral chances; as previously discussed there is no proof that obtaining a sticker discouraged a student from voting or, more importantly, discouraging them from voting for the opposing party.
If the Commission’s ruling is not reversed, it will give the Chair unchecked power to influence the outcomes of future elections. Under their reasoning, the Chair has the discretion on a standard far below the preponderance of the evidence to decide what constitutes campaign material, if such campaign material will likely result in a violation, and if that material is “so offensive” that it would create irreparable harm. The Commission’s reasoning also implies that even if a Chair’s order is illegitimate, a party is bound to follow it no matter how outrageously incorrect. The Pants Party was under no obligation to follow a cease and desist order that they did not just disagree with, but that was blatantly outside the powers of the Chair. Not granting parties this independence would allow the Chair to exercise undue influence over electoral outcomes by suppressing legitimate campaign materials, especially on the days of voting.
The Commission’s decision that the Pants Party violated 723.4 should be reversed.
This whole issue is spiraling out of control. I don't believe JCB wants to keep Passman from office, rather, I believe he filed this case to establish legal precedents. Obviously the stickers hurt Greek turnout even if they were helping people out of doing something they arguably didn't want to do. Listen, if you get your Gator1, you go to the polling precinct, you make time in your day to vote and someone hands you a blank sticker, the same sticker a poll-worker would and you don't vote, then you clearly had no connection to the candidate(s), you weren't there because you believed in them, you were there under or orders or fear of reprisals, which like vote suppression is also punishable under the law.
Show These To The Courts ----- Voter Boards
I hope those justices realize that they will be held accountable for their decisions.
From Fmr. Senator Pedro Morales (TR comments in ywllow).
I don't think Alan Passman should be disqualified. I sent him a facebook message already congratulating him on his election and looking forward to seeing him work as any other member of the student senate. I don't know what the verdict is on this, but I hope that Senator-elect Passman does get to represent graduate students.
I think the idea of the I-Voted-Stickers would have worked as an effective message if the stickers would have had the Pd. Pol. Ad. It would have been inside the rules, and at the same time, negated the stickers' apparent value to voting boards of student organizations. I agree with the opinion that the "I Voted" stickers as Pants' protest of SG, hence confirming that "SG Sucks". Especially because they were handed out by Pants Party supporters. This is not part of the definition of "campaigning" but I wouldn't expect an individual wearing an Impact shirt to give me a Progress flier or to convince me of Gator '05. So when someone wearing the shirt gives out some material, it is implicitly in support for his or her party, and hence the material should have had the Pd. Pol. Ad, because the conversation that surrounded the giving of the sticker was probably campaign conversation.
Now, if I had a Pants shirt, and I was meeting with my classmates to discuss some homework problems, I am obviously not campaigning. Computational complexity theory is not campaign or political speech. So if I find a resource online and printed a copy for the group, it does not need Pd. Pol. Ad. The act of me giving out this academic information in no way influences them to vote for Pants or whoever. So, in context, the stickers are campaign material and the EC had the authority to issue the C&D. The parties implicitly signed the agreement to compete according to the rules; and because those rules give the Elections Commission the authority to hear those complaints.
If Dan Fitzpatrick, his minions or the Toga Party members would be handing out the stickers, it would be different. They are obviously protest groups; and they totally have the right to express their beliefs. When Pants decided to engage in the competition, it agreed to engage in the rules of the game. The minions and the toga group did not have to comply with said rules.
Pedro's "I wouldn't expect an individual wearing an Impact shirt to give me a Progress flier or to convince me of Gator '05," leaves me very uneasy. If Gator supporters, and I use that term loosely, were dissuaded from voting based on a blank sticker even if not implicitly campaigned to or made to feel in any way indebted to, even if not obstructed from the polls, and given the material was exactly the same kind as given after voting, then how does this constitute as campaign material.
It seems that the basis of Pedro Morales' argument is that b/c the stickers were coincidentally handed out by a person in a Pants t-shirt that this makes the stickers campaign material. Let me pose this question. What if would-be voters found the stickers laying about the floor, blank as they there were handed out by Will Foster, what then? C'mon now, ust that Advanced Complexity Theory, would it be campaign material, yes or no?
p.s. Thanks for participating and thanks for the mildly patronizing "In Context" line from paragraph #3. Good to have you back. :)
From Student Sen. Gavin Baker (TR comments in yellow)
Handing out the "I Voted" stickers: I thought it was a dumb prank from a hopeless party. I also disagree with coercing students into voting by collecting stickers.
I don't think it's campaign material. It doesn't tell you to vote for or against any party, candidate, or ballot question, which is how "campaign material" is defined in 700.4(d).
The argument is made that these stickers were meant as voter suppression. Well, that's bad, but it's not illegal. You can encourage someone to vote or not to vote, as long as you're not telling them who to vote for or against. Otherwise, the SoE's non-partisan GOTV efforts are illegal.
I also don't think it's an unauthorized benefit as per 761.21. Using the Court's three-prong test, the stickers were a benefit, and may have been intended to influence voters, but are not unauthorized under law. When a party provides supporters with stickers, T-shirts, etc. these are also benefits intended to influence voters. If that's legal, then so are "I Voted" stickers. If it's legal for the SoE to hand out "I Voted" stickers, it's legal for a party to do so. The Court is splitting hairs in a way that's illogical and not based in the black-letter law.
The cease & desist order: I think it was poor judgment to issue the order, but not illegal. The E.C. chair has the authority to issue an order pursuant to 723.4 to "cease and desist from the distribution of campaign material." As I said earlier, the stickers weren't campaign material. It's a debatable point, so while I disagree with the chair's decision to treat the matter as campaign material, I don't think it's
against the law.
However, once issued, the party is required to comply, even if they think it's a spurious matter. Pants should have followed the order until the hearing.
The disqualification: I agree with the concurring opinion that Pants violated 723.4 but not 761.21. I would find it harsh, but not unreasonable, to disqualify Pants for this offense.
Other issues: I'm concerned by how maladroit the Court's reasoning with regard to the First Amendment concerns are. This is an extremely important issue, and the Court clumsily dismisses it. Any time the government does something that looks like prior restraint of speech, the Court needs to apply a very high level of scrutiny, a responsibility the Court shows little concern for in its opinion. I'm not sure I disagree with their conclusion, but it warrants a fuller consideration. I find other sections of the 700 codes questionable under First Amendment law, particularly the requirement to "register" campaign material prior to distributing it.
I hope that someone who has standing takes the case to court. I think it would be possible to get findings that voter boards exist and are coercive.
Thanks for inviting me to weigh in on this issue.
You Betcha Gavin!
Monday, March 12, 2007
Heard and Decided March 8, 2007
Opinion Published March 12, 2007
In re: J. Clayton Brett v. The Pants Party
COUNSEL: Rosemarie Clouston on behalf of Petitioner; Jesus Suarez on behalf of Respondent.
JUSTICE: GAVRICH, C.J., MAYLOR, J, KLEIN J., and VIALPANDO, J. concur. CAMPBELL, J. concurring in the judgment.
The Supreme Court of the Student Body [the “Court”] here reviews Petitioner’s appeal of the Election Commission’s decision in the case of John Clayton Brett v. The Pants Party, Case No. 2007-S-0007. We have jurisdiction. See § 729.0, Student Body Statutes. For the reasons explained below, we affirm.
1. Procedural History
On February 28, 2007, the Elections Commission [the “Commission”] heard arguments in the case of John Clayton Brett v. The Pants Party, Case No. 2007-S-0007. The Commission made three determinations is its decision issued March 1, 2007: (1) The Commission denied the Petitioner’s motion to defer the hearing. (2) The Commission held that the Chair of the Commission has the authority to issue a cease and desist order. (3) The Commission held that the Petitioner’s distribution of “I Voted” stickers violated § 761.21. On March 6, 2007, Petitioner filed a Request for Appeal with the Court, and the Court approved. Petitioner specifically appealed the Commission’s decision that the distribution of “I Voted” stickers violated § 761.21.
§ 761.21 of the Student Body Statutes specifically provides that “No candidate shall give, offer, or promise to any student or student organization any benefit not authorized by student body law in order to influence the votes of that student or members of that organization.” According to § 744.1, a political party may be held liable for the actions of individuals if a complainant can demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the political party solicited the individual to violate any provision of the Student Government Election Code. On this point, the Court believes the Elections Commission’s findings of fact were accurate. Therefore, the Court agrees that the Petitioner may be held liable under § 761.21 for the actions of the persons who distributed “I Voted” stickers of its behalf.
In interpreting § 761.21, the Court developed the following three prong test. In order to demonstrate a violation of § 761.21, a person must first show that a candidate conferred a benefit on a student or student organization. If this requirement is satisfied, a person must then demonstrate that such benefit was unauthorized by the Student Body Statutes or Student Body Constitution. Last, a person must show that the candidate conferred the benefit in order to influence the vote. The Court finds that these three requirements were satisfied.
The Court agrees that the distribution of “I Voted” stickers conferred a benefit on the students that received them. The right to display an “I Voted” sticker is a privilege conferred on the students by the polling representatives and the Supervisor of Elections. For some students, an “I Voted” sticker is a valuable benefit because it represents their participation in the electoral process. For others, the “I Voter” sticker has value because it demonstrates that the student has previously voted and it may deter a campaigner from approaching him or her. Accordingly, the Court holds that the Petitioner conferred a benefit on students by distributing the “I Voted” stickers.
The Court agrees that the “I Voted” stickers were unauthorized by the Student Body Statutes. To be authorized, campaign materials must bear the words “paid political advertisement.” See § 762.0.1 Therefore, in determining whether the stickers were unauthorized, the Court first considered whether the “I Voted” stickers constituted “campaign materials” as defined by § 700.4 (d). According to that provision, campaign materials include “any print or electronic material used for the purpose of supporting a candidate or political party for an elective Student Body office, an initiative, a referendum question, or proposed constitutional amendment.”
The distribution of “I Voted” stickers by polling representatives is a long standing practice in Student Government elections. When distributed by polling representatives, the “I Voted” stickers are polically neutral and do not constitute campaign materials. However, the Court believes the Petitioner distributed “I Voted” stickers to satirize the current practices of Student Government and to further their stated platform that “SG SUCKS.”2 Therefore, the Court agrees that the stickers constituted campaign material when distributed by the Petitioner. Accordingly, because the stickers constituted campaign materials and because they did not bear the words “paid political advertisement,” the stickers were unauthorized under the Student Body Statutes.
Thirdly, the majority agrees that distribution of “I Voted” stickers by the Petitioner influenced the vote. Because polling representatives only distribute “I Voted” stickers to voters after votes are cast, the Court believes that the act of distributing “I Voted” stickers to students before their votes were cast caused voter suppression and discourages voting. We further believe that the act of distributing “I Voted” stickers influenced the vote by disrupting the legitimate, long time practice of many student organizations of using “I Voted” stickers to track voter turnout. Because student organizations were unable to accurately use “I Voted” stickers to track voter turnout within their organizations, we believe that voter turnout was negatively influenced overall. Therefore, based on the above, the Court finds that the Respondent has demonstrated the three requirements inherent in § 761.21. Accordingly, the Court holds that the Petitioner has violated § 761.21.
Lastly, with respect to constitutional issues raised by the Petitioner, the Court holds that the Commission’s issuance of a cease and desist order prior to its ruling was not an unconstitutional restraint on free speech under Article I, § 4 of the Florida Constitution and the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Moreover, the Court holds that the subsequent ruling of the Commission did not constitute an unconstitutional limitation on free speech. While the right to free speech is undeniable, the U.S. Supreme Court has permitted a multitude of restrictions on speech. For example, in the case of Buckley v. Valeo, the Supreme Court held that limits on campaign contributions "serve[d] the basic governmental interest in safeguarding the integrity of the electoral process without directly impinging upon the rights of individual citizens and candidates to engage in political debate and discussion." Similarly, the Court believes that the Student Body Statutes regulating campaign material are constitutional and properly work to preserve the integrity of the electoral process. Accordingly, the Petitioner cannot be excused from following Student Body Law. For these reasons and the reasons stated above, the Court hereby affirms the decision of the Commission in the case of John Clayton Brett v. The Pants Party, Case No. 2007-S-0007.
Campbell, J. (concurring in judgment)
I concur in the judgment that the Pants Party violated at least one provision in Chapter 700 of the Student Government Election Code ("Code"). However, I do not agree that Pants violated the Code provision that the Student Government Elections Commission ("commission") charged them with violating, §761.21. Additionally, I believe the real issue and argument was never raised.
The Student Government Elections Commission anchored their charges against the Pants Party on Code §761.21. This provision states:
"761.21. No candidate shall give, offer, or promise to any student or student organization any benefit not authorized by student body law in order to influence the votes of that student or members of that organization."
This provision was written to prevent candidates from agreeing to provide unauthorized benefits in exchange for votes. It was written to prevent fraudulent "wheeling and dealing." As an example of what the drafters intended §761.21 to prevent, I give the following hypothetical proposal:
CANDIDATE: "If you will get everyone in your organization to vote for me, then after I'm elected I'll ensure that everyone in your organization receives free tickets to Gator football games compliments of the Student Government's budget.
The hypothetical above shows an express agreement. In reality, the agreement could be express or implied and need not be this extreme to be wrongful. What matters is that the candidate hopes to exchange unauthorized benefits for votes. This is the type of conduct the legislature intended to outlaw when it gave §761.21 the force of law.
In the present situation the Pants Party randomly and indiscriminately distributed "I Voted" stickers. The Pants asked nothing in return and the recipients, by accepting the stickers, expected nothing in return and had no further obligations. Once the stickers were gifted, the transaction was complete and the recipients were free to vote or not to vote at their discretion. The conduct proscribed by §761.21 does not apply to the present situation and the commission should not have anchored its claim upon a violation of §726.21.
The real issue, never raised, follows.
The Gator Party and those student organizations whose members tend to associate with the Gator Party are comparatively well organized and structured. Party and organization leadership encourage their members to vote. They use the "I Voted" stickers as a method of vote accounting. If, at the end of the day, an organizational member cannot present an "I Voted" sticker, leadership will influence the member to hit the polls. The stickers are proof that the members voted. As such, the stickers are a form of political "currency" with a unique value in this Student Government. I make no judgment whatsoever on the merits of this process.
The Pants Party is differently organized and structured. They do not have a similar sticker "vote accounting" process in place. The Pants Party does not like the way the Gator Party uses the stickers. They argue that the vote enforcement mechanism is anti-democratic. I make no judgment whatsoever on the merits of their argument. Regardless, it is advantageous to the Pants Party to flood the market with the stickers. Their logic is as follows: "Some members of Gator Party vote only because they are pressured into voting. These members must prove they voted with a sticker. If I give them a sticker, then they don't actually have to vote. They can put this sticker on the voter board and pretend they voted." Thus, their goal in distributing these stickers was to devalue the "currency" and disrupt the Gator Party's process.
Regardless of who distributed the stickers, for both Gator and Pants, the stickers were used to influence votes. Saying otherwise would deny reality. For the Gator Party the influence comes at the end of the day when an organizational member cannot present a sticker and is persuaded by leadership to go vote. For the Pants Party the influence comes in the middle of the day when they give a sticker to someone who then decides not to vote and later presents their leader with false proof. It is obvious that each party used the stickers to accomplish the same goal: to influence the vote.
One could argue that the key difference is that, on one side, the stickers were officially distributed by poll workers (and not Gator Party members) and, on the other, the Pants Party members were personally distributing the stickers. This argument values form over substance. It does not matter who distributes the stickers if they are ultimately used for the same purpose. Labeling something as "official" does not cure an inherent defect. Scanning any History textbook proves this point.
Apparently this "Stickergate" controversy has raised its ugly head before. Until this Court either declares that the stickers are, or are not, contraband, the controversy will continue its cycle of reincarnation. In the interests of justice and equity, I believe that this Court should make a decision that will apply to everyone equally. This would be the right thing to do.
However, the Pants Party is far from innocent. The Chair of the Elections Commission may grant a preliminary cease and desist order under authority pursuant to Code §723.4. In the present case, the Chair issued an order for the Pants to stop distributing the "I Voted" stickers. The order was summarily ignored. At this point, the merits of the order do not matter. What matters is that the Pants Party unilaterally decided that the order was invalid. That was a big mistake. The Pants Party should have made a good faith effort to follow the order and then use the judicial process for vindication. Instead, they took the law into their own hands.
Student Government will not work unless everyone plays by the rules. Unlike the real world, Student Government has few enforcement mechanisms for violation of an order. In voluntarily participating in Student Government, individuals and parties are also volunteering to play by the rules. The Pants Party willingly chose not to play by the rules. This cavalier attitude cannot be tolerated and is the only reason I concur in the judgment that the Pants Party violated the Code.
1 According to the record of the Commission, the stickers distributed by Petitioner did not bear these words.
2 The record states that the Petitioner printed and distributed t-shirts which stated the slogan “SG SUCKS.” The Court is of the opinion that the Petitioner organized around this central theme.
Supreme Court: "Go...."
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Once again I find myself dissenting from the status quo. Many folks, including some readers of this blog insist that UF-SG is a 'microcosm' of the real world. Yet early last week the Gainesville Sun reported that only about 7,000 out of Gainesville's 60,000+ eligible voters came out to the polls (sound familiar?). Of UF's approximately 54,000 students only about 7,000-8,000 voted in this past election -- how much of a microcosm is UF SG?
"Most students spend at least nine months per year in Alachua County and summer sessions allow for an even longer amount of time to be spent in town. I believe that UF students should vote in local elections, follow local issues, and organize to become a force in Gainesville politics." -- Nick Capezza
And what about voter apathy? I am of the firm belief that local gov't is far more relevant to us as members of a community than the federal or state government. Very few of us would directly be effected by having either a Republican or Dem in the White House or Tallahassee, however, a bad mayor or an ineffective County Commission and trash bags might start piling up outside our door, the utilities bill might go through the roof, the roads might erode and break into pieces, drinking water might be polluted, police might lose ground to criminals, towing companies could hike prices at will and remove cars more indiscriminately given a lax city/county, bar times could be altered once again -- in fact they could be forced to close at midnight, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. If you think I'm crazy, why is it I can drink and party till 5am in Miami but have to be out of the club by 1:45am here?
Access, Jamal, & Jared
There was a time when CTV was a top priority, when it had quality leadership, and abundant resources. While there seems to be a shitstorm on the current leader of the program, I would put a large portion of the blame on the shoulders of an ineffective president and a treasurer likely to follow in his predecessor's footsteps. I mean what evidence do we have that Moseley (a person Nina DeJong stated: "rode a wave placed for him") will be any different than John Boyles? What happened to this wonderful program created by Jamal Sowell and put perfectly into practice by Jared Hernandez?
"It seems clear why Chomp the Vote failed this year and it has to do with the leadership: they simply didn't care. Whether Ms. Hillman overloaded herself is up for question, but those in oversight positions appeared apathetic to Chomp's cause and didn't act when it began to fail." -- FRANK BRACCO
"I guess it just wasn't a high priority for the administration. Considering we had both a midterm election (with governor race) and a mayoral/city commission election, I really can't explain why Chomp the Vote wasn't a higher priority. I can only say it was a failure and I hope the new administration
does better." -- GAVIN BAKER
Will Moseley Be Any Different?
Well according to the Greeks Moseley represents true leadership. And the turncoats, they have a lot to say. We have the word of Pedro Morales, who claims in emails to have Moseley's ear on Grad Affairs (which is taken as banter by top Gator officials). We have Ryan Day & Kim Cruts, whom according to emails that will be brought to light in 2008 were in negotiations with the Gator Party for senate seats, turning everything they've said about "supporting the better candidate" -- utter horse-shit. The true hope fot the UF Student Body will come from Gator's Veep & Treasurer, but President Moseley will leave many wondering if John Boyles is still in charge, I mean this guy could mess up a cup of coffee, nice guy, but ineffective as they come.
Damn Shame. Another great program created by the Access Revolution, run into the ground by the System. That's Great. Terrific.
Kinda Right-Wingish, But I Love Him, LMAO
As much as I'd like to release certain emails I won't until 2008. However, Tommy Jardon no longer replies to my emails. It could be because I blew the lid off his flip-flooper ways to the point he's no longer trusted by Gator chieftains, then again one has to wonder if he ever was. In one account the fmr. Action Party president offered, he was the victim of being coerced into Gator by parties to be listed in '08. In another account, this one offered up by Bruce, Tommy & the defectors supported Gator only b/c Bruce waited too long to announce. In yet another account, Tommy claims he "decided to support Moseley sometime in Fall. In another account, Tommy & Leslie defected, putting the earlier coercion theory into question.
But it still continues to get interesting. As many of you recall prior to the elections a PANTS video showcasing the entire slate arrived, with one two minor, though promising details. One interesting detail was that Tommy Jardon appeared for apparently no reason, he was there in classic political-boss fashion, reminiscent of Il Duce, upstaging even Bruce, wasted, and rambling about his whereabouts as if anyone bothered to ask. A second detail of interest was that although Bruce appears on the video, he claims it was released without his knowledge. Hold that thought.
On March 4th I was given a tip that Tommy Jardon & Amanda Kane were assisting in PANTS' defense. I emailed David, Will, Tommy, & Bruce in hopes of verifying this information. Bruce replied that to his knowledge Tommy was not involved. I said he was. Bruce reiterated, that to his knowledge he wasn't. Five days later, Tommy Jardon is listed as co-counsel of the PANTS Party before the Supreme Court.
So, whose lie is it anyways?...
Upcoming Article...Check Back Later Today
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
From Peter Gruskin
Fmr. Student Advocacy C.D. (2004)
Fmr. Access Party APC (F'04)
Fmr. Voice Party Treasurer (S'05)
Fmr. Voice Party President (F'05)
Being an "independent" in Student Government at the University of Florida means more than just not having party loyalty to one of the (sometimes only one) parties. If party loyalty was the only criteria to consider, every student who doesn't know the names of this year's (usually) greek and non-greek parties would be, by defintion, "an independent." Obviously, there is more to it than this.
The overarching definition of independence in my opinion, is a commitment to pluralism in SG. When a (usually Greek) party gives one senate seat to each house on Fraternity or Sorority Row, this is a strand of anti-democracy that an independent should be working against. Everyone knows that the name of the game is numbers: who can get the most houses on their side? Who can get the most money raised from big-name donors who are connected to UF via the Greek alumni world? I know, not all who help the Greek party are Greek--but I believe it is fair to view the system through this bias. Statistically, most years, the Greek party wins precisely because it has near unanimous support in the Greek community--people who almost unanimously turn out to vote for their slate.
Revolutions come and go in SG. The Access Party once demanded "access for all!" until they won the Executive on a groundswell of popularism thanks to pluralistic ideas. Then things changed. After Access won, the party leadership "sold old" to the Greek system--completely. I mean, there is not much to say in their defense. They claimed it was because they wanted to include the Greeks who were left out of the "Access Revolution," but by giving each fraternity one senate seat (literally giving it to them, since Access was basically running unopposed), they only decreased the voice of the independents and non-Greek 85% majority of campus. After all, why should each house have proportional or even equal representation? They are not the only living quarters for UF students. (Maybe all students who live in the dorms should be required to vote as a provision in their housing contract with UF.)
But then again, if Access can win as an independent party and just as quickly turn into the Greek party, maybe it is fair to say that the "independent" community in SG is weak. Those who are the strongest independents, in my opinion, have let their actions speak louder than their words. They have been working with the Pants party this past election, and with the past non-mainstream parties in years before. If these students were to disappear, the small group of independents that is left in campus politics would shrink even further into oblivion. Independents cannot let this happen.
My votes: Hanrahan, Fitzpatrick
Chomp The Vote: Who's Accountable?
In this very special entry of TheRADIKAL we hear from legendary Indies James Argento & Nick Capezza. A compilation of essays will be featured in the upcoming .com under the lede "The Independent Notebook." Here goes:
From Nick Capezza:
What is it to be an Independent in the SG context evolves, or devolves, based on your own experiences. I came in at a very strange time and I had people who I can legitimately describe as "infamous" or "legendary" around me, on both sides of the coin.
Being an independent in UF SG doesn't exclude you from doing good work and accomplishing something special for the student body. I have always been of the opinion that it is better to work within than have delusions of radical change and revolution. True leadership does not come with pledging the right fraternity or in the title you have on a business card; it comes from taking a stand and rallying behind the right thing for the students and the University.
Independent leaders in Student Government must remember that we do not fight for tomorrow, we fight for today and what we can accomplish for students and student groups today. What constitutes the "system" in SG changes often and can even change from one election to another. Some groups and their leaders are included, others are shunned. You could be working for the good guys one day and the bad guys the next. Trust me, I know this from experience.
The most important thing to do is continue fighting what you consider to be the good fight and believing in the democratic process even in the sub-local government entity of University elections.
From James Argento:
What did being an independent mean to me?
I really can't give you a definition. Generally GDI is referred to as nongreek, however I know nongreek kids who were as much part of the system as greek kids. Generally a lot of people resent it when nongreeks get into the system and see them as sellouts. However the nongreeks who get into the system will tell you it is just them advancing themselves. Although i would not say advancing yourself in the student government association really won't impact your life that much.
I enjoyed my four years at UF, I have also enjoyed my 3 years at FSU. I have been an "independent" at both institutions. I was independent at UF, in the sense that i led the non-greeks in opposition to the system in the UF SGA. While I was at FSU, I was a student body officer who stayed non-partisan in my capacity, even though I was appointed by the student body president, a member of the FSU system, to my position, in that I didn't have a stake in the burning spear kids v. the non-burning spear kids in the election. I would not trade my time at either institution, as I learned a lot. Being an independent to me is that I followed my own heart and not the heart of others. I did what i could to help people, without being beholden to any one.
Today, I offer my counsel to anyone UF or FSU student, system or not, who needs advice about law school or stuff in Tallahassee. I love to hear from you and you can get in touch with me through facebook.
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Once again I would like to say how pathetic it is read that Mike Bowen (Special Assistant to Patricia Telles-Irvin; Vice President of Student Affairs, University of Florida) and one Allison Cullin (former Impact Senator, Washington D.C. receptionist) are talking trash on the facebook about a blog that gives all readers the opportunity to express themselves and refute any entry/comment made. Once again the offer to offer a rebuttal to anything stated on this blog remains open, but insults will be responded to with the spotlight of TR.
I'd also like to thank Amanda Kane and Tommy Jardon for helping PANTS with their appeal. I just wish Tommy would make up his mind already, playing both sides of the field is a little sketch, but nonetheless, good work, finally.
From TheRADIKAL Wire
From A Very Reliable SG Source:
*PANTS WAS NOT DISQUALIFIED: The Elections Commission penalized Pants after they ruled they handed out illegal campaign material and ignored the Commissions cease and desist order with a formal recommendation of disqualification to the Supreme Court (728.2 d). That does not mean Pants was disqualified. Most Commissioners did not want to disqualify Pants, but they wanted to get their attention. You can not break the rules and then completely disrespect the Elections Commission's directives. They wanted the Supreme Court to examine the issues and see if disqualification was warranted.
*99.9% Unlikely that the seat Pants won will be disqualified. The kid that won that seat had nothing to do with the controversies and will almost certainly be allowed to keep his seat.
*It's really a moot issue other than that because Pants didn't win any other seats and the Court probably won't waste everyone's time by DQing people who didn't win anyway.
TR: Do you consider I-Voted-Stickers to be campaign material (pd. pol. ads)
Sen. Gavin Baker: No. They don't advocate for any party or candidate. They don't even tell you to vote. If they're campaign material, then the SoE's stickers and other non-partisan efforts to let people know about the election are also campaign material.
TR: Do you feel that the distribution of I-Voted-Stickers constitutes 'voter suppression?' Why or why not?
Sen. Gavin Baker: Well, yes, but the only voters it would suppress are voters who have been coerced against their will to vote -- which is itself illegal. Two wrongs don't make a right, although there is a bit of poetic justice in this. We ought to pay more attention to the coercive efforts that are
an "open secret" among SGers.
From James Argento:
"As a former FSU student body attorney general, I just wanted to give my thoughts on the i-voted sticker situation, since my friends on both sides have asked me. Normally I don’t comment on UF student affairs. However since I used to prosecute violators of election law at FSU, in front of the Election Commission and Student Supreme Court, I have some thoughts. Especially since the UF 700 Codes correspond to the FSU 700 codes.
Are I-voted stickers campaign material? In my opinion, likely not. They aren’t telling you who to vote for. You have a first amendment right to hand out whatever you want on a college campus, subject to the regular regulation of handbills at UF. In fact I would dare say some of the other electoral laws at UF violate the first amendment. To me the only way that the EC could have stopped the distribution of the stickers was if they were the voting stickers the commission paid for and pants stole them. Since they were not, and they were not tangiable benefits being passed out in exchange for votes, it doesn't seem the commission had the jurisidiction to issue a c & d order in regards to that.
Are passing out stickers voting suppression. In my opinion no, because you could still vote even if you got the sticker and the stickers did not stop people who wanted to vote from voting. So in my opinion, the matter should just be dropped. I have not included a lot of law in these thoughts, but if you want..."
Fmr. Sen. Ryan Nelson:
Defendants are guilty of violating §761.21 by giving direct, but not implied, benefits to students by distributing stickers. Defendants should be punished as per §728.2.
Defendants are not guilty of violating §762.0 since restrictions apply only to campaign material.
Defendants are not guilty of contributing to “voter suppression.
Ryan Nelson's Full Response Available Here
Saturday, March 03, 2007
With the campaign & elections over, it's rather silly to deny the fact that there was in fact a Battle for the Independent community, that PANTS effectively took on the Machine, and that many of the key leaders of the Independent community of 2006 disappeared only a few days into 2007. And who would have thought that the Alligator would endorse the FBK-backed party?
Over 70 Grapski Videos!!!
Once again the elections may be over, but hearings are set and tensions remain tense. What's goin on? Your comments:
Thursday, March 01, 2007
30% of the vote and a senate seat...this from a party that formed in the last hour, around their charismatic leader, Bruce Haupt. The PANTS Party proved to be the real GDI Party, from their platform to campaign work ethic. They went announcing, they ran a full exec with 30-person strong senate slate, and they even reduced the almighty machine into filing last hour complaints on the day of elections. Whether it was the I Voted Stickers or the YouTube videos, PANTS kept Gator on their feet. Their contributions to the electoral process, to student body, and to the livelihood of the Independent tradition at UF are invaluable.