ASCMC Elections Committee’s Exception Yields Controversial Outcome
On Thursday, Feb. 26th, the CMC Class of 2015 elected Mohammad “Moe” Abdulrahim as Junior Class President.
ASCMC requires that class president candidates submit 50 different signatures from classmates. ASCMC set the signature submission deadline from 10:30 to 11:00 pm on Feb. 22nd.
Abdulrahim submitted his signatures at 11:17 pm. His petition violated the ASCMC Constitution: “The Elections Committee will hold a meeting for all candidates at which time all petitions must be submitted. No petitions may be submitted after the close of this meeting” (IV.B.2.b.iii).
The ASCMC Elections Committee passed a motion to accept the late signatures due to the nature of the circumstances affecting his late submission.
In an email to the Claremont Independent, an ASCMC representative stated that a “sudden and unexpected academic obligation” delayed the submission of Abdulrahim’s signatures. The representative further stated that the signatures were late “due to factors beyond his control.” Another ASCMC representative confirmed that Abdulrahim’s conflict occurred between 10:30 and 11:00 pm. Abdulrahim has not responded to our request for details on the nature of his academic conflict.
The Committee’s actions bring into question whether Abdulrahim’s former involvement in ASCMC influenced the Elections Committee’s decision to make such an exception. Abdulrahim is currently finishing his term as the ASCMC Student Life Chair; his duties include planning and executing all school-wide non-alcoholic events. The Student Life Chair also sits on the ASCMC Executive Board. Four out of the seven (a majority) members of the Elections Committee are members of the Executive Board, including the President, Vice President, and President Pro-Tempore. According the last fully available ASCMC Constitution via ascmc.org, “in the event that an immediate decision regarding the Election Rules is necessary, the Chair shall have the power to make immediate decisions, subject to later approval or reversal by the committee. Both approval and reversal shall require a simple majority vote of the committee” (IV.B.1.b). (As of Feb. 26th, 2013, the ASCMC Constitution is not currently available at ascmc.org.)
Although the Elections Committee’s vote appears to be constitutional, the composition of the Elections Committee favors existing members of the Executive Board.
2013 saw a close election that required precise actions by the Elections Committee. Although candidates won by slim, measurable margins, the underlying petition process proved subjective and inconsistent.