Democrat organizations dispute voting privileges

Jordan Rudner

The president of Central Austin Democrats, known as CAD, attempted to prevent its members who also vote in University Democrats, from voting at the groups’ combined endorsement meeting Saturday.

On Friday, CAD President Glen Coleman posted in his organization’s Facebook group and announced that those who are members of both University Democrats and CAD would not be given a CAD ballot to determine the candidates the club would endorse. CAD members must live in Central Austin, while admission into University Democrats is restricted to any current student, staff or faculty members at the University. 

“I think we can reasonably intuit that if the endorsements of the two clubs jointly form the Austin Progressive Coalition, then members could not, or should not, be voting in both clubs,” Coleman wrote. “I will not be issuing a CAD ballot to individuals with active memberships in UDems.”

CAD member David Chincanchan, who was a University Democrats member until he graduated in December, said Coleman’s decision stirred up controversy among CAD members.

“A day before the endorsement meeting happened, the president tried to unilaterally decide that he would not be giving ballots to certain CAD members,” Chincanchan said. 

After an hour of debates at Saturday’s meeting, CAD members rejected the rule change and allowed all members ballots.

“I wouldn’t say he’s unfit to lead the club, or anything like that,” Chincanchan said. “After it was obvious the move was not what the membership wanted, he didn’t fight for it.”

Coleman said he knew his rule change would face opposition but said he felt it was important to combat the influence of a group of University Democrats members who he alleges vote in CAD elections to influence CAD’s endorsement roster. 

“I knew I’d be voted down, but I wanted to force the issue into daylight,” Coleman said. “I became aware that there was a walking majority, and I decided to take a stance against it.”

University Democrats President David Feigen, a government and communication studies senior, said he felt students had been unfairly singled out in Coleman’s decision-making process.  

“It’s unfortunate that students are being targeted,” Feigen said. “We were also unhappy with the methodology.”

—Jordan Rudner