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With new members, Board of Elections awaits Supreme Court decision

The new Board of Elections members introduce themselves to Student Congress's Rules and Judiciary Committee before being questioned. 

The new Board of Elections members introduce themselves to Student Congress's Rules and Judiciary Committee before being questioned. 

The BOE now has enough members to function under UNC Student Code after the almost 10-minute meeting.

A concurrent resolution to reprimand Opere for failing to appoint members to the BOE earlier in his term was introduced as well, but it did not pass.

“It is to reprimand the Student Body President for failing to fulfill his constitutional duty,” said member Kennith Echeverria. “Particularly, this resolution declares Opere as the primary student body government official responsible for the chaos that has transpired. After all, if he would have nominated the members to the Board of Elections, we wouldn’t be here today.”

Cole Simons, the speaker of Student Congress, said the responsibility of appointing board members was the responsibility of the student body vice president, and not the president.

“I do not believe it is solely (the student body president and vice president’s) fault,” Simons said. “I believe that fault lies both with all of executive branch, Board of Elections and Congress itself. So, because of that, I don’t necessarily believe that it is in good faith to issue a reprimand to only one entity of that.”

Paul Kushner, chairperson of the Board of Elections, said he hopes the UNC Student Supreme Court will accept the minutes from Tuesday night’s Rules and Judiciary meeting and Wednesday’s meeting as sufficient documentation needed to lift the injunctions that are inhibiting the election proceedings.

“I think that the student body president did a good job at picking good candidates who are unbiased and have no ties to other student government,” Kushner said.

Kushner said if the injunction is lifted, the BOE will have their first meeting on Thursday, though it is possible that no new timeline for elections will come of this meeting.

Questions over the BOE membership were raised when SBP candidate Joe Nail appealed a ruling from the BOE to the UNC Student Supreme Court. Originally, the BOE was thought to have three members, but Kushner said they realized two members had not gone through the proper process with Student Congress.

Kushner said the lack of members stemmed from some members graduating and some members dropping due to time commitment. By fall 2016, there was only one official member, Kushner himself.

Kushner said he brought the issue of the insufficient number of members of the board to the attention of student leaders in the fall and was later told the issue was resolved.

Simons said there had been a historical precedent in place where the chairperson of the BOE for the past two years before this year had picked candidates and interviewed them to be on the board. From there, the chairperson would inform the vice president of his picks and the vice president would nominate them to Congress for approval.

Simons said this means the BOE knowingly engaged in operations that they were not allowed to, because they should not have been meeting in the first place if there were not the numbers required by the Student Code.

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