ASWC senate votes to allow students abroad to vote in elections

Josh Goodman

The ASWC Senate voted on Sunday, May 2, to allow students studying abroad and in domestic off-campus study programs to vote in ASWC elections. Until this year, such students had been unable to vote in ASWC elections because they technically were not paying ASWC dues while abroad.

ASWC made the change by eliminating voting as a right of membership and simultaneously adding a by-law that established who can vote. The by-law states that current Whitman students, along with those in study abroad programs, are eligible. Students on a leave of absence will still be unable to vote in ASWC elections.

The change was prompted by a surge of complaints from juniors studying abroad, many of whom were upset that they were unable to vote in this year’s Executive Council elections. Several pointed out the irony that they would not be able to vote for the people representing them during their senior year, when they would be paying the ASWC fee.

Senior and Vice President and Student Affairs Chair Jordan Clark said that though the by-law change was originally envisioned as a constitutional amendment to be offered to students in the fall, senators decided to go ahead with the change without a vote from students because it was a relatively uncontroversial change. Had it gone to students in the fall, the bill would have required 20 percent of the student body to vote in a special election to be considered.

Clark, who was saddened that his friends abroad could not vote for him when he ran for vice president, noted that he was glad that juniors abroad would be able to vote in the future, since it’s a change that has “seep[ed] through the cracks” before.

“I’m just glad we were able to do it and do it quickly,” he said.  “The Executive Council that’s coming in is really great, but in the transition coming in, there’s always some things that get lost and I didn’t want this one to get lost.”