By Kelsi Peace, Features Editor
After the most debate SA has had all semester, Congress rejected an amendment to the bylaws that would revoke the power of the election chair and election committee to dock votes from candidates who violate campaign rules at Wednesday’s meeting.
The amendment, written by sophomore senators Caleb Archer and Daniel-Paul Watkins, required a two-thirds vote from Congress to pass, but received only 21 votes supporting it, with 17 opposing and three abstaining.
Last week, Archer, political science major from Southlake, and Watkins, political science major from Fredericksburg, Va., wrote a bill to revoke the power to dock votes, but chief development officer Hallie Roberts, junior political science major from Fort Sumner, N.M., ruled that the bill could not amend a document written by the chair of the committee.
Archer and Watkins appealed, but Congress upheld Roberts’ decision 30-2.
Archer and Watkins said they want the power to dock votes taken away because docking votes that have been cast essentially disenfranchises the voter.
“In my opinion, one vote negated is a problem,” Watkins told Congress. “We’re trying to uphold the democratic way.”
While Archer and Watkins said candidates who violate election rules would still be penalized, others voiced concerns over how to penalize a candidate who violates the rules during voting once most campaigning is finished.
Freshman senator Abby Barnes, political science major from Odessa, opposed the amendment, and said it took away power from the committee chair.
She also said Watkins’ suggestion to announce candidates’ violations to the student body was not a suitable punishment because most voters are not familiar with the rules to recognize the seriousness of a violation, and, Barnes said, a Christian campus should not use public humiliation as means of punishment.
Congress could not hear the second addendum on the agenda because only 30 Congress members attended the meeting, and there were not enough absentee votes for the addendum to meet the two-thirds quorum.