The Student Government (SG) Supreme Court decided Monday that senators elected from the Muma College of Business who won the general election would take their seats for the next legislative session, after nullifying the expedited election held earlier this month.
After Muma College of Business student Joshua Smith was placed on the wrong ballot for six hours during voting, the Election Rules Commission (ERC) petitioned the court to allow an expedited election for senators from the college.
Once the expedited election was conducted, many candidates who won in the general election found themselves at the bottom of the second. For instance, candidate Ralph Herz won a seat in the initial vote with 234, but fell below eighth place in the expedited election with a count of 56, which resulted in losing his seat.
Several candidates saw a similar trend, including Nick Russo, whose vote count dropped from 274 to 50 in the second election. In response, Russo filed a grievance against the ERC for improper interpretation of the term expedited election.
The court heard Russo’s case last Thursday, and Associate Justice Richard LaMura announced the decision in Monday’s meeting.
“The ERC shall certify the results of the 2015 general election for the Muma College of Business, and shall cease to hold any more grievance hearings regarding the 2015 general or expedited elections,” LaMura said.
As a result of the decision, the original eight candidates who were voted in during the general election will return to their positions as senators-elect.
Russo, once again a senator-elect, said the decision will not have a negative effect on his time as senator, but he hopes to help others avoid the same problem in the future.
“I would love to help in rewriting … the election code. I’d love to clarify everything to make sure that something like this never happens again to somebody,” Russo said. “I’m just very excited to become a senator now. I love my school, and I’m very happy that this was a fair and just decision.”
Upon hearing the news that results from the expedited election were invalidated, Muma College of Business student Zaid Dabus contacted The Oracle complaining about the decision.
Dabus lost the general election, but won the expedited election, in which he said he spent $140 and at least 30 hours campaigning. He added that time and money may be all for waste, as the SG Supreme Court won’t be hearing any more grievances.
“It seems like Russo felt he would win a second time, since he won already first time, so he put no time or effort in campaigning and then was surprised when he came up last … and felt a sense of entitlement,” Dabus said. “Failure after failure, the ERC has cost me time and money I’ll never get back, all seemingly because they want to get rid of a problem they caused in the first place.”
— Additional reporting by Wesley Higgins