The Downtown student government judicial board unanimously overturned the disqualification of USGD presidential candidate Erika Green early Thursday morning, citing the initial violation’s lack of proof detailing the injury done to the plaintiff.
“We’re incredibly happy that we are qualified candidates again, especially since we’ve worked so hard up to this exact point,” Green said. “This is what we knew would happen.”
The decision was announced at 12:30 a.m. Thursday, only hours after the judicial board convened at 10 p.m. Wednesday to hear the violation.
The election committee disqualified Green on Monday for failing to include a whiteboard and easel on the expenditures report she filed with the committee.
Green appealed the disqualification on Tuesday.
This is the third straight year a presidential candidate Downtown was disqualified from the election, and the second year in a row that candidate was later re-qualified by the judicial board.
“I didn’t know about the disqualifications before,” Green said. “I guess it’s routine.”
At the meeting were Director of Administration Rudy Rivas, representing the election committee, Green and plaintiff Clare Irvine. In the audience sat Green’s ticket, USGD President Joseph Grossman and his ticket, several USGD members, nine Green supporters and several of Grossman’s supporters.
Irvine, political science junior and Grossman’s campaign supporter, filed the complaint but failed to include how she was injured by the violation, which is required by the election code.
In her opening statement, Green raised that the complaint lacked an explicit explanation of how the violation injured the plaintiff.
Section 8.2 of the election code reads: “Complaints shall specify in what way the Plaintiff was allegedly injured by the actions of the Defendant.”
The following section states: “If the complaint does not specify an injury, or the Elections Department finds that the Plaintiff is uninjured, or that the infraction was insignificant, the Elections Department shall dismiss the complaint with prejudice.”
The judicial board asked Irvine during the hearing how she was injured by the violation. She said the student body as a whole, Grossman’s campaign and the entire election process were damaged by the whiteboard violation.
“The second you start overlooking some of the rules that refer to campaign expenditures, that harms the fairness of the election,” Irvine said. “That puts us in a situation where we don’t know what rules are not being followed.”
Rivas explained the election committee’s decision was based on how many students could have been influenced by the whiteboard during the three hours it was on Taylor Mall.
But, since the injury was not explicitly stated in the complaint, Rivas agreed when the judicial board said the election committee inferred the injury done to Grossman’s campaign.
“I just think it was a miscommunication,” Green said. “We never would have risked our campaign over a whiteboard.”
Voting closed at 11:59 Wednesday night and the USGD is expected to release election results at around noon Thursday.
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