SGA Elections Commission dissolves Duong/Spencer ticket

By Robert Rigo

(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian)

The Student Government Association Elections Commission suspended Lincoln Duong, candidate for presidential election and issued a warning to incumbent ticket Anthony Vitale/Lily Wallace Thursday, amid a contentious stretch in the days leading up to the SGA election.

Duong’s campaign has been suspended for 48 hours beginning Thursday at 10:33 p.m. for violating rules within the SGA bylaws, according to a copy of the Elections Commission meeting minutes given to the Daily Collegian. The Commission also decided that Duong and Spencer could not run together on a ticket.

The warning for the Vitale/Wallace ticket was after a campaign worker had used negative connotation and intended on defaming another presidential candidate. Screenshots were given as evidence to support the complaint.

Voting for the 2017-18 SGA president, vice president and student trustee begins March 6. All three tickets are expected to participate in Sunday’s SGA Debate, hosted by the Collegian.

However, the ticket already faced uncertainty prior to Duong’s suspension. A junior economics and political science double major, Duong originally announced he would be running without a vice presidential candidate. It was not until Wednesday that he announced the addition of Southwest Residential Area Governor James Spencer to his ticket, who also initially intended to run for President.

The Commission stated in the minutes that they decided that Duong and Spencer could not run on a joint ticket because the bylaws do not allow for candidates to change their nominated positions without another nomination process. Since Spencer was nominated for President he therefore cannot run for Vice President, a position he was never nominated for.

Duong’s suspension is a result of campaigning during the nomination period for which he received a 24-hour suspension, and publishing unapproved “propaganda” to social media after being previously notified, upping the suspension to 48 hours.

“Before I publish anything, I have to send it to the Chancellor of Elections…we would put it in a google drive file and then if the chancellor sees it, then it’s fine, but I think last night we did not put it on the file,” said Duong.

“He will still be able to participate in the debate,” SGA Chancellor of Elections Ryan Jackson said. “He won’t have access to his [campaign] funds until Saturday night after his 48 hours is up. He won’t be able to post online, and he won’t be able to flyer or dorm storm.

“How this will affect his campaign depends on his strategy and his ability to think on his feet at this point,” Jackson said. “But, as previously stated, he can participate in the debate and that’s what I wanted from the beginning, to have the cleanest race possible, to have all the candidates at the debate.”

SGA President Anthony Vitale declined to comment. “I really don’t want to comment on the other candidate. I feel bad to be honest, talking about another candidate.”

Duong believes the Election Commission is treating his ticket unfairly, in part because it’s hoping to curry favor with incumbents Vitale/Wallace, who are running for re-election.

“There is a lot of conflict of interest in this election when the incumbent president is seeking re-election,” Duong wrote in an email. “I feel that the Election Committee and Administrative Affairs Committee, who can also vote on issues with candidates, are not treating my ticket fairly.”

Explaining this conflict of interest, he said, “If the current president gets reelected, [the cabinet]…can keep their positions. The other thing is…the chancellor [of elections] is appointed by the president…So the incumbent has a lot of support from the cabinet, people who can make decisions regarding the campaigns.”

“It definitely has a lot of effect on our campaign right now because we cannot publish any campaigning material, we cannot go around passing flyers…but I think that it [is] Friday and tomorrow is Saturday, and a lot of people won’t put much attention to the political news on this campus,” Duong said. “So in general, we already gathered a huge pool of support for us during the week and this suspension affects a few things in our campaign, but it won’t affect the overall…”

 Robert Rigo can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Rob_Rigo. Hayley Johnson contributed to this report and can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @hayleyk_johnson. Danny Cordova contributed to this report and can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @DannyJCordova.