An amendment to the Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) election bylaws to remove Judicial Board (J-Board) oversight from the assembly’s elections passed by a unanimous vote at the BSG meeting on Wednesday. The Vice President or another non-candidate member of the assembly will now oversee each election.
BSG President Ural Mishra ’20 explained that the goal of the amendment was to retain BSG’s independence. According to Mishra, since the J-Board is a college-sanctioned body, it comes into conflict with BSG’s autonomy as enumerated in its constitution.
“Theoretically, how the bylaws are now, if the J-Board were to have some kind of complaint about the election process, it would hold up the entire thing. We can’t give a college body that kind of authority,” said Mishra.
Mishra believes this change is the best solution possible and that members running the elections will be impartial without external oversight.
“It’s not a conflict of interest because [members running the election] have no stake in the election. Secondly, students have to … trust their representatives will carry out their duties to the student body adequately. Thirdly, if there is a complaint, that would be pretty serious that someone is tampering with an election, and at that point, the administration can get involved,” Mishra said. “I’m not sure anyone’s trying to risk a J-Board hearing over a student government election.”
The amendment has also codified a place for a technical assistant to aid in elections should it be deemed necessary. Currently, the software for elections is run exclusively by Dylan Hayton-Ruffner ’20, who coded the ranked choice voting system when it was first took effect last November. When Hayton-Ruffner graduates, the software will be given to Student Activities for future elections.
“We’re currently working on a system which will require less technical knowledge and basically transferring that over to a different group, so that the ranked choice voting elections can happen year [to] year,” Mishra said.