USG needs additional justice to rule on presidential case

The Undergraduate student government meets in the SU ballroom for its weekly meeting on March 8, 2017. Items discussed included a motion to ask the Foundation to not invest in fossil fuels and a motion to add a temporary justice to fill in for Chief Justice Andrew Stern during hearings on the presidential race. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

The University of Connecticut Undergraduate Student Government (USG) voted Wednesday to establish a Judiciary Nominating Committee to appoint a temporary fifth justice to the judiciary to serve on a case concerning the USG presidential race.

Current USG Chief Justice and presidential candidate Andrew Stern is appealing a ruling which eliminated 29 votes from his vote total in the presidential race. Stern cannot serve on the judiciary while his own case is being considered, and a full court is needed to hear the appeal.

USG election results will not be released until the case has been decided, which will not happen until after spring break. USG president Dan Byrd said a new justice should be nominated by next USG senate on March 22.

Polls closed March 2, meaning election results will not be released until at least 20 days after polls closed. It will likely be even longer: After a date for the hearing is established, the case is heard and the judiciary makes a decision.

The judiciary ruled Stern was not guilty on violations of bribery and campaigning near students while they were voting, but eliminated 23 votes from his total because they say the circumstances created an unfair election environment for his opponent, Irma Valverde. Stern’s campaign was found guilty on one charge of slander, removing six votes, bringing the total votes eliminated to 29.

Stern is appealing the loss of the 23 votes based off charges he was found not guilty on.

“I stand by that I should not have been sanctioned for [violations] I was found not guilty of,” Stern said.

Byrd said holding voting results is necessary to ensure a fair trial.

“If the [vote] margin was within 23 votes, the judiciary would then know that they’re voting to decide the election,” Byrd said.

However, Byrd acknowledged students’ frustrations.

“I think students are frustrated because they want to know who won…Maybe we’re getting a little taste of what it was like to be [voters] in 2000,” Byrd joked, referencing the U.S. presidential election between George Bush and Al Gore.


Schae Beaudoin is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at schae.beaudoin@uconn.edu.