Senate votes in favor of docking votes for campaign violations
The ETSU Student Government Association Senate debated Tuesday about the issue of allowing the Election Commission to dock votes for campaign violations.
In an 8-18-1 vote, the SGA Senate voted down an amendment that aimed to remove a clause granting the Election Commission the power to dock votes based on campaign violations from a piece of legislation written to alter the organization's code of laws.
SGA President Mike Wallace proposed the amendment and said that he believed docking votes would silence the voices of the students whose votes would be docked.
"I do believe that there should be some system in place for violations, but I don't think this is that system," Wallace said. "So, my proposal is to strike it because I didn't like it and to wait on a proposal because this doesn't go into effect until next year or later to kind of deal with what should be the repercussions [for campaign violations]. ... If I vote for candidate Johnny - so here's Johnny; I'm voting for him - and he violates a campaign or whatever, that still doesn't mean that I don't want my vote to represent his winning the election."
Several students spoke out against the amendment, as they felt it was necessary to establish a disciplinary system for those who violate campaign rules.
"The use of verbose language and saying, 'Oh, this is democracy; why take away our democratic right?' and 'This is so radical' is kind of like a mist to fog your judgement because the truth is you have to have legitimate elections that have penalties, if you break the rules," Sen. Zack Tuggle said.
"That's just a simple fact. If you break a rule, a university rule, there are a set of penalties that are taken against you."
The Senate was forced to vote on the amendment when the time allocated for the discussion of the amendment elapsed without a senator attempting to extend time.
Several senators who were still unsure of their positions on the issue motioned to adjourn the meeting while the Senate was in the process of voting so that they would have more time to come to a decision; however, the Senate voted against the motion.
The Senate will vote on the entire piece of legislation that the failed amendment was written to alter at 4 p.m. Tuesday in the Forum Room of the D.P. Culp University Center.
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