Those involved in the process are considering nuanced ways — including decreasing the number of required signatures — to pass the bill with Medlin’s approval. But no surefire method has emerged.
Student Congress member Evan Ross, who introduced the amendment to the rules and judiciary committee, said he has been told by members of student government that Medlin would veto the full bill.
“From what I understand right now, he is dead set on vetoing the bill as a whole if we do not split the signature amendment into a separate bill,” he said.
Medlin can only veto a full bill, as the Student Code does not permit a line-item veto.
Ross said he was not planning to propose that the amendment be put in a separate bill.
But Zach De La Rosa, chairman of the rules and judiciary committee, said he would motion in the Oct. 26 meeting of Student Congress to reduce the proposed number of signatures from 1,500 to 1,400 as a measure of compromise.
Medlin, who said he liked the bill as a whole, said he would be hesitant to support any signature increase.
The debate surrounding the amendment has Medlin squaring off against Ross, with the rest of Student Congress largely ambivalent.
Medlin said the increase would give large campaigns an unfair advantage over smaller ones, whose ideas might be just as important for the student body to consider.
“You’re really saying that this comes down to a popularity contest, and that’s not fair,” Medlin said.
“The type of campaign that can get that is the campaign that is the typical machine,” he said, acknowledging that his campaign was one of those “machines.”
Medlin said 1,500 signatures is too high a threshold to expect candidates to meet in the week provided.
He was the only candidate in last year’s presidential election to receive more than 1,500 signatures among the six candidates who appeared on the ballot.
He also cited the fact that signatures from individuals who signed petitions for multiple candidates are declared invalid.
“Asking people to get 1,500 means, ‘Actually, go get 2,000,’” Medlin said.
Ross said he didn’t understand why Medlin opposed the amendment.
“He definitely proved that it is possible,” he said.
Ross said he disagreed with Medlin’s claim that the change would make the election less democratic.
“If you want to seriously run for student body president, you’re going to get the 1,500 signatures that you need,” he said. “If you’re not quite as serious, you’re not going to.”
The full bill was tabled in the rules and judiciary committee Oct. 5, and members said they expect the bill to be passed at the next committee meeting Oct. 19.
De La Rosa said he supports an increase to 1,400 signatures, because it represents about 5 percent of the student body population.
Student Congress member Lee Storrow said he plans to introduce a motion to reduce the proposed number of signatures to 1,200.
But none of the six involved members of Student Congress interviewed offered specifics on who would make a motion to separate the amendment from the bill.
Several involved said they thought it would be irresponsible of Medlin to veto the full bill based on one amendment.
“It seems rather ignorant to veto an entire bill for one little thing like that,” Ross said.
Contact the University Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.