The student body president election came to a screeching halt on Thursday, due to developments after votes were counted, but before they were certified.
Election Rules Commission Director Marigelle Malapira had announced Wednesday that a runoff would take place between Maxon Victor and Andrew Aubery to decide the new president. The runoff was set to take place March 8 and 9. Election rules state that a candidate must have 50 percent of the vote to be declared winner.
Plans changed after the Victor ticket received word early Thursday morning that they were assessed five additional points by the ERC. The ticket already had seven points assessed from prior violations; the extra five put them over the allowed 10, triggering a disqualification.
Victor was twice assessed points for using SG resources to further his campaign. Victor was also assessed points for posting his Web site prior to approval from the ERC.
Victor has appealed the points against him. The hearing could possibly take place as soon as Monday. Both Victor and the ERC have five days to assess the appeal. If it lasts five days, it would affect the days the runoff election would have occurred. The election process has been put on hold for the time being, until the situation between Victor and the ERC is resolved.
“The Supreme Court will decide whether or not our point assessments were valid and can be upheld,” said Deputy Supervisor of Elections Charlie Eder.
The two-day election process closed Wednesday with Victor receiving 1,185 votes. SG student body Vice President Aubery trailed Victor closely with 1,182 votes.
“What we went through on Tuesday and Wednesday and for the past week — even the last two hours of campaigning — we treated it like the fourth quarter of a basketball game. We have to have the right motivation and the right attitude,” Victor said. “I’m going to be honest and truthful: We tried to base our campaign with integrity, and we’re going to get through this.”
Regardless of the current course of action, Aubery will continue to uphold his same philosophies.
“I’m going to be asking for all my supporters to vote for me again, asking other people who voted for other candidates to look at my platform and realize that I do have experience,” Aubery said.
Brandon Faza’s campaign is waiting in the wings for the results of the appeal.
“We’ve been told that everything is on hold until after the court case. Until that happens, we won’t campaign. Everything is up in the air right now and we’re just going to wait and see what happens.”
The election results have not been certified by Malapira, meaning all tickets are still in the running. The campaign most likely to benefit from the possible Victor disqualification would be the Faza-Brittany Link campaign. Faza only trailed Victor and Aubery by little more than 20 votes, hypothetically making him the next candidate in line to be considered for the runoff, barring any disqualification. Faza’s campaign has been assessed two points.
“It’s pretty much still everybody’s ballgame,” Eder said. “That’s what everybody has been told. For some reason if Victor is still disqualified, Faza would obviously move up to that spot, but that statement hasn’t been certified. As of right now, there is still a possibility that any ticket could be in that runoff.”
According to Eder, the only two campaigns that could continue to campaign is Victor and Aubery. Aubery’s campaign rests with seven points assessed by the ERC. Barring the results of the Supreme Court hearing, there could be a rematch of sorts between last year’s runoff candidates, Aubery and Faza.
Faza ran for president last year and Aubery was elected student body vice president on Bijal Chhadva’s ticket last year.
Michael Johnson, who received 953 votes, would not like to see Faza versus Aubery play out.
“I think that would be a sad day for our student body as a whole. I don’t think either of those tickets are good representatives of the students,” Johnson said.
According to Johnson, he has informed his constituents that while his campaign is essentially over, Victor is the candidate who shares the most similarities with Johnson’s campaign.
“At this point, with the way things are playing out, our campaign will do what we can for the Maxon-Sameer campaign,” Johnson said.
Everything hangs in the balance of the Supreme Court appeal this Monday. Until that time, the SG election rests in limbo.
Silverlee Hernandez and Glen Gilzean Jr. could not be reached for comment Thursday night.