Former SG senator wants election recalled
Even with only two tickets left running for student body president, the drama and controversy is far from over.
The Student Government Supreme Court heard a request from former SG senator Jen Wilson on Thursday to hold a trial on the validity of Wednesday’s student body presidential election.
The Court has up to 24 hours to announce its decision.
According to Chief Justice Kristina Lawrence, the Court has made its decision. However, it has chosen to withhold that information.
Wilson claimed that the Election Rules Commission had been biased in favor of presidential candidate Frank Harrison and his running mate Faran Abbasi when assessing points for campaign violations. In the request she also asked the court to disqualify the Harrison/Abbasi ticket.
If the Court decides to hold a trial, the trial would be to determine if the election as a whole should be recalled due to claims that the ERC was not properly performing its duties. If the election were to be recalled, the results would be void and another election would have to be held.
ERC Director Cindy Lorenzo, in her first day in the position, declined to comment on Wilson’s accusations. As of Thursday morning, she replaced former ERC Director Andrew Kirkland, who said he resigned for “personal reasons” and to focus on academics. Lorenzo has been a member of the ERC throughout the election season.
Harrison said he feels the ERC has done its job and that the allegations are just a groundless attempt to get his ticket disqualified.
“Every year people try and find ways to get other tickets disqualified,” Harrison said. “Unfortunately, it’s a thing that’s normal to Student Government elections.”
Wilson claims that the ERC did not properly perform its duty of investigating grievances filed against tickets and assessing points, specifically in regards to grievances filed against the Harrison/Abbasi ticket.
“I would see several memos of grievances that were submitted and then the only investigation ERC conducted was speaking with Frank Harrison – no points assessed,” Wilson said. “That’s not an investigation (if) you just go ask Frank if he did it. Are you kidding me? Of course he is going to say no.”
According to Deputy Supervisor of Elections Amber Alexander of the ERC, memos regarding the outcomes of grievances only list what grievance was filed and how many points if any were assessed.
After Thursday’s hearing, the ERC refused requests for memos regarding point assessments, citing that it was too late in the day.
The Court also refused to release documents submitted by Wilson.
In Wilson’s request for the recall of the election, she also asked “that the Court issue a writ as necessary abolishing the election of the Harrison/Abbasi ticket.”
“The reason behind that is because had the ERC not shown any bias or violated any governing documents or been negligent, their name would not have even been on the ballot for the general election,” Wilson said. “Therefore three other tickets would have split the 1,400 votes that were cast for that ticket.”
Requests for the Court to hold a trial are open to the public, but traditionally only justices and those requesting a trial are allowed to speak.
At Thursday’s hearing, Lawrence allowed guests who wished to voice their opinion on the situation to speak to the Court, despite protests from SG Attorney General Daniel Miller.
The Court heard from several Harrison/Abbasi campaign workers, student body President Maxon Victor and Vice President Sameer Ahmed.
The Court also heard from SG Director David Armstrong, who made it clear to the Court that, in his opinion, it would go against SG statutes for the Court to hold the trial.
This procedural anomaly came one week after the Court allowed SG Graduate Adviser Jennifer Gallagher to be present for part of the Court’s deliberations, which caused concern among several students in SG. Justices are generally prohibited from discussions with anyone during deliberations.