Legislative Council voted down a bill Thursday evening that would have moved voting for CU Student Government from the online portal, MyCUInfo, to on-campus polling stations.
Supporters of the election reform said one of the main reasons for the bill was to keep candidates and affiliates from watching students cast ballots and, more broadly, protect voters’ right to privacy.
Rep. Zeke Johnson, one of three sponsors of the bill, also worries that CUSG candidates use the virtual election setting to get votes at off-campus gatherings, which is against election code but still in practice, he said.
The election reform needed two-thirds or 12 votes of the entire Legislative Council to pass its first reading. Seven legislators voted in favor of it, nine voted against and two abstained.
No legislation relating directly to resolutions in the failed election reform bill may be presented at council until next the next session, Legislative Council President Colin Sorensen said.
“I think it would only come back in the fall if the progressive ticket wins,” Johnson said after the meeting. “The Inspire ticket doesn’t support this.”
Rep. Neelah Ali, another sponsor of the bill, said she was not sure if the issue would be brought up in the fall, when the next session convenes.
“It depends on who wins the spring elections,” Ali said.
Opponents of the bill argued that insufficient funding is available to carry out the proposed polling stations, online voting allows effective preservation of democratic process and that the elimination of at-home voting would decrease turnout.
“As (the bill) stands right now, it is likely that there will be a decrease in voter turnout,” Hladini Mensah-Dzomley, chair of the Elections Committee, said during discussion. “However, in conceptualizing this, it was understood that it wouldn’t be a permanent result.”
Rep. Alexis Scobie said she would have supported the bill if more questions had been answered during discussion and because private areas are currently available on campus for students to cast ballots.
“They can also submit a paper ballot in an office where no one is allowed to campaign,” she said.
Thursday’s bill came to the table four months after a CUSG passed the first campaign finance reform in years.
Contact CU Independent Copy Editor Alison Noon at Alison.firstname.lastname@example.org.