Massachusetts Daily Collegian

SGA tables election report, no official presidential winner

New campaign violations under review

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SGA tables election report, no official presidential winner

Alvin Buyinza/Collegian

Alvin Buyinza/Collegian

Alvin Buyinza/Collegian

Alvin Buyinza/Collegian

By Leticia Medeiros, Collegian Correspondent

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The Student Government Association at the University of Massachusetts tabled a motion by the elections commission to ratify the results of the 2019 spring general election on Monday, March 4.

Presidential candidate Allie McCandless and Sen. Timothy Ennis urged senators to table the motion at the very beginning of the meeting.

“The elections commission has not had the time to review new violations that have arisen, it must be given the time to table and look at these complaints,” said Ennis. “Allowing an election to be ratified tonight will reduce the legitimacy of the SGA.”

Phillip Cross, the chancellor of the elections commission, explained later in the meeting that the committee “overlooked” a piece of evidence regarding a complaint that had been filed, and they planned to review it in the coming week.

During the opening announcements of the meeting, McCandless criticized current SGA President Timmy Sullivan and his running mate Hayden Latimer-Ireland, the ticket which was declared as the winner in the final elections report,  for its multiple violations of campaign rules.

“In a democracy, it is important to have fair competition, and running against a ticket that you know is breaking the rules is beyond stressful,” McCandless said. “If you don’t think that the rules are fair or you don’t think that they are ‘conducive’ to the way that you campaign, that’s no excuse. All candidates signed a memo saying that we have read, understood and will follow the rules.”

After results were finalized on Sunday night, Sullivan said that he thinks “generally” that “[SGA] bylaws need to be restructured in a way that is more conducive to grassroots campaigns.” He did not comment on the elections during Monday’s meeting.

McCandless said that the violation still to be reviewed by the commission was “the most egregious violation” of the six violations she reported against the Sullivan/Latimer-Ireland ticket after the elections.

“This violation affected hundreds of people,” McCandless said. “If violations, not even including the most egregious one, are severe enough to warrant suspensions that would have amounted to 18 hours of the entire three-day election, how could anyone possibly believe that they did not influence at least 0.38 percent of the votes cast?”

Later in the meeting, the elections commission gave a presentation regarding the election report. It was stated several times that “any concerns with our rulings should be taken to the judiciary.”

McCandless and her running mate, Moksha Padmaraju, have already filed petitions with the SGA judiciary regarding the elections commission’s rulings on post-election violations.

When requested by Ennis, Victoria Crovo, a sophomore animal sciences major and one of the elections commissioners, explained to senators the commission’s process in issuing rulings.

“We tried to set a precedent early and stay as consistent as possible so, we would start with a warning, for example, and the next time it might be a three-hour suspension and if you violated that same bylaw again it might be a six-hour suspension,” Crovo said.

After questioning the elections commission, senators debated on whether to table the motion. They eventually decided to table the motion, in hopes that that would give the elections commission enough time to review the additional evidence and make any necessary changes to the elections report.

Later in the meeting, the senate passed a motion urging UMass President Marty Meehan to let students present their findings on student debt to the administration and finance committee of the Board of Trustees. The motion was prompted after a December 2018 board meeting in which chairman Robert Manning said that the University “[doesn’t] have a student debt crisis,” but instead a “graduation crisis.”

Senators also welcomed three new members to the vacant class of 2022 seats —Julia Carino, a political science major; Blythe White, a social thought and political economy and English double major; and Kirsten Crowe, a political science major.

Letícia Medeiros can be reached at [email protected]

4 Comments

4 Responses to “SGA tables election report, no official presidential winner”

  1. John on March 6th, 2019 12:21 am

    Give the SGA credit for stepping up and refusing to confirm an election with allegations, that seems significant, to not be considered.

    Cheaters never win, and winners never cheat.

  2. amy on March 6th, 2019 12:41 am

    A. Nobody takes the SGA seriously or cares.

    B. Someone won the majority of the vote and they are tabling the election. That’s not a real election lol. The majoirty winner wins the election. That’s how democracy works.

  3. Leyla on March 7th, 2019 2:52 pm

    Reminds me of that North Carolina election where the “winner” used fraudulent absentee ballots… they’re now doing that election over again

  4. Ed Cutting on March 7th, 2019 10:06 pm

    20 years ago — and yes, it’s been that long, I warned the SGA that they were inexorably approaching the situation where they wouldn’t be permitted to run their own elections.

    I’m just surprised that it took this long….

    And yes, the problem is that the wrong” people won….

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