Holes in the UF Student Body constitution were discovered at the first Senate Judiciary Committee meeting of 2019. Every decade, a commission meets to fill them.
A piece of legislation to determine the future of online voting was declared unconstitutional at a Student Government Senate Judiciary Committee meeting.
On Sunday, SG Judiciary Committee member Branden Pearson (Impact, Jennings) reiterated a Dec. 21, 2006 SG Supreme Court decision, which declared online voting unconstitutional because of the invasion of privacy upon students and possible coercive tactics.
The topic was brought up again in 2017 when it was an amendment on the Spring SG election ballot. Twenty-seven percent of students voted in favor of online voting and 12 percent voted against it. Because abstained votes count as “nays,” online voting failed to pass.
Pearson also cited a SG Supreme Court ruling from June 25, 2016, that counts the absence of a vote on a student ballot — called an abstention — as a vote for no.
“While I personally support online voting, this committee is responsible for determining constitutionality of code revisions and, in this case, this directly contradicts the Supreme Court decision that states online voting is unconstitutional,” Pearson said.
Pearson said the only way online voting will be brought to UF is through a constitutional revision. Because of the Constitutional Revision Commission’s work this upcoming year, online voting could be added in 2020.
Online voting was on the Inspire Party’s Fall platform.
William Zelin (Inspire, District D), who was a co-author of the online voting revision, said it was not unconstitutional because it established a framework for the hopeful addition of online voting to the constitution.
The Senate Judiciary Committee, which has eight members, all of whom are in the Impact Party, reviewed four proposals that were co-authored by Inspire Party senators. There is currently one empty seat on the committee.
The committee also passed legislation to officially update the language for the existence of off-campus senators in the Constitution and eventually change the SG elections schedule to conduct the general election two weeks before Spring Break.
“How long have we gone with this constitutional language? How long have we had for problems to arise in the meantime?” said Alfredo Ortiz, a 19-year-old UF philosophy freshman and co-author of two of the Inspire Party’s proposals.
Constitutional Revision Commission
The last time the Student Body constitution was updated was in 2010. The SG Constitutional Revision Commission is bringing in a fresh set of eyes to the document.
This commission is revived every 10 years, according to the Student Body constitution.
Student Body President Ian Green appointed Danielle Grosse to be the chairperson for the 20-person commission. The SG Senate president, Chief Justice and Supervisor of Elections will appoint the remaining members to the commission.
Grosse, a 21-year-old UF industrial and systems engineering senior, has served in SG since the Summer after her freshman year when she was a replacement senator for Murphree Area.
Following that, she served as a District A Senator, Information and Communication chairperson and SG Senate president. She will also serve as the Florida SG Institute chairperson to help plan the upcoming conference for SG members in Florida, Grosse said.
Grosse said she is waiting on the rest of the appointments to be made to start creating a timeline. Commission meetings will be public.
“Anything that’s in the constitution will ultimately affect the entire student body,” Grosse said.