Lovelle Harris | Staff Writer
The Sacramento Superior Court returned a lawsuit to the federal court Aug. 21 that had been filed by the American River College Students for Liberty Campaign concerning the legality of the Los Rios Community College District’s decision to void approximately 4,000 votes in the April student trustee election.
“The lawsuit is actually specifically calling for the district to count the votes and elect the person who received the majority of the votes,” said George Popko, ARC student, trustee candidate, and president of the ARC Students for Liberty Campaign. “In other words, elect the person who won the election democratically.”
According to LRCCD spokesperson Susie Williams, the decision to invalidate the election and appoint Brandon Kleine as trustee was made because of differences in the voting hours on each of the four campuses during the election.
“Prior to invalidating, [our] vice chancellor for education and technology and our associate vice chancellor did a full review,” Williams said. “They went out and asked to talk to student life coordinators, students, students in positions of leadership, and it was pretty unanimous throughout the district folks felt that, yes, it could cause a false election result.”
Following the decision, the ARC Student Association launched its own inquiry into the local campus general election and on April 30 unanimously passed Bill S09-20, calling for an independent audit of the election process to examine the evidence that cited irregularities between the number of ballots cast and the number of voters.
“Unfortunately the effort to resolve this issue with the audit was basically stalled by the administration, so it never actually took place,” Popko said. “Basically they refused to release the funds for the bill.”
The district confirmed that the audit did not occur.
“They wanted to use money for the audit that wasn’t designated for the purpose,” Williams said. “I don’t think it was really clear what the audit was [intended to accomplish]. The issue was that there were more hours of voting time, not the votes themselves.”