SG Supreme Court hears appeal from candidates

The Student Government supreme court heard arguments Thursday night regarding the Election Rules Commission’s assessment of one point to the campaign of student body presidential candidate Frank Harrison and his running mate Faran Abbasi.

The Harrison/Abbasi ticket filed for the court to review the point assessment made by the ERC, making the ERC the defendant and Harrison and Abbasi the plaintiffs.

The point was assessed by the ERC for putting A-frame signs up on campus before any candidates were permitted to begin campaigning with signs. No candidate is allowed to put up campaign signs more than 15 days prior to the two days of election, Tuesday and Wednesday.

According to a grievance submitted to the ERC, the Harrison/Abbasi ticket had signs up on Feb. 3. The violation can be worth up to 5 points.

After the grievance was filed and a request was made by the ERC, the Harrison/Abbasi ticket took down its signs.

Neither plaintiff was present at the hearing. Senate President Pro Tempore James Culp represented the ticket in front of the court. Culp said the two candidates chose to campaign rather than attend the court session.

SG Attorney General Daniel Miller represented the ERC.

Culp asserted that Andrew Kirkland, the supervisor of elections, gave the Harrison/Abbasi ticket permission to put up the signs when they did.

Miller asserted that both Harrison and Abbasi signed forms stating they understood all statutes regarding election rules and were personally responsible for adhering to such rules. He also noted that Harrison was personally involved in the writing of the new statutes regarding election rules, which the SG senate recently approved. Harrison is the SG senate president and Abbasi is a senator.

Culp claimed that Kirkland gave misleading advice to the Harrison/Abbasi ticket, which led to the signs being put up around campus sooner than allowed, putting the blame on Kirkland rather than the plaintiffs.

In his closing arguments, Miller surprised those in attendance by asking the court to assess a total of 30 points rather than uphold the one-point ruling.

A ticket is disqualified once it accrues 10 points.

He said that there were three signs causing infractions and asked the court to assess the maximum amount of points possible for each sign, which would total 15 points.

He went on to add that the Harrison/Abbasi ticket put the signs back up on Feb. 6 after taking them down at the request of the ERC. He said that means the signs, which he said are still up, have been up for 17 days. The Temporary Campaign Signage Request form states that signs are allowed to be up for a maximum of two weeks.

He requested that the court assess 5 points per sign for having the signs up too long, which totals 15 additional points.

No decision has been made by the court, which has 24 hours to make its final ruling.