One Oregon fighting one-day campaigning ban from elections board
One Oregon may not be allowed to campaign for a day if the ASUO Constitution Court upholds the ASUO Elections Board’s sanction imposed in response to a grievance filed against the campaign last week.
I’m With UO campaign manager Andrew Dunn filed a grievance on March 28 against One Oregon vice presidential candidate Adam Sharf for allegedly advertising his candidacy on social media before the date allowed in the elections rules. In addition, the grievance stated that the publishing date for the slate’s Facebook page was also a day early. Screenshots were provided as evidence for both assertions. I’m With UO asked the board to bar One Oregon from campaigning from April 4 through April 6.
In the past, campaigns submitted grievances to the elections board and publicized them to relevant media via email, but after changes to the ASUO website this year, grievances are now submitted through an online form. This method leaves sole access to grievance information in the hands of the elections board until it publishes a ruling.
In this case, One Oregon was also unaware that a grievance had been filed against it until the elections board issued its decision on April 1, barring One Oregon from campaigning on April 4, said campaign manager Amy Laube. Although no rule requires the elections board to give notice of a grievance before then, slates are typically notified so they can supply a response to the board. Laube says One Oregon was frustrated by its inability to respond before the board made its decision.
“It’s usually etiquette to let your opponent respond when a grievance is filed,” Laube said. “The [elections board] should have created a system where [One Oregon] could give a response to the grievance.”
Elections board coordinator Abraham Youhana says that it didn’t occur to him to inform One Oregon of the grievance before the board made its decision.
“I should have reached out to them. It was an error on my part,” Youhana said.
As allowed by the ASUO constitution, One Oregon appealed to the constitution court to overturn the elections board’s decision and was granted an injunction, which temporarily cancels out any sanctions from the elections board while it deliberates. So One Oregon is allowed to campaign on April 4, but may face campaigning prohibitions later in the week.
The appeal stated that the publishing date for One Oregon’s Facebook page was listed as a day early because staff were building it, but that it had published on the allowed date, a few hours after it was allowed. It did not address the allegations against Sharf.
Appealing to the constitution court, which is composed of non-elected justices appointed by the executive and confirmed by the senate, has stirred up controversy in past elections. This includes last year, when the court overturned a board ruling by barring the UO Forward campaign from campaigning during elections due to a grievance.
Dunn said that he understood the court’s decision to let One Oregon campaign on April 4, but he disagreed with Laube’s argument against his grievance.
“[One Oregon’s] arguement was based on fairness,” Dunn said. “But if they are really about fairness, they should have not broken the rules in the first place.”
The court has until April 5 to convene and discuss the ruling. It has no deadline in which to make a decision, but its ruling will have less impact on the election if not made before voting closes at 4 p.m. on April 8.
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