Protecting democratic values

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While I agree with John Woods’ contention in his firing line Tuesday that the Election Supervisory Board’s disqualification of two major presidential candidates is unfortunate for the UT student body and will pose a significant hurdle for next year’s student body president, I completely disagree with his characterization of the ESB’s actions as akin to “election by fiat.”

The ESB and Election Reform Task Force worked tirelessly to craft a detailed, nuanced and unbiased election code paired with an equally thorough grievance, penalty and appeal process to ensure fair elections for UT voters and candidates. To the best of my knowledge, the ESB in its decisions to disqualify the candidates adhered to this process, which was proposed, approved and implemented by UT student representatives.

While some insiders and “student leaders” may be displeased that candidates they supported turned out to be incapable of following rules (a trait that makes one wonder why anybody regrets their removal from presidential consideration to begin with), claiming that the institution that was established, selected and adhered to procedures formulated by elected student representatives is the complete antithesis of fiat; it’s unbiased and fair governance. And claiming the ESB, instead of the thankfully former candidates who broke the rules to begin with, somehow deprived UT students of a democratic process is essentially equivalent to yelling at a referee when you don’t like a call.

By disregarding those rules designed to protect the integrity of these elections, the disqualified candidates acted in a manner that is clearly and overwhelmingly counter to the values of democracy, and the ESB used its student-granted authority to protect those democratic values and the election.

Douglas Luippold is a UT alumnus and former Daily Texan Associate Editor.