Student judiciary orders SGA to put president and vice president candidates and student trustee candidate on election ballot

Student judiciary orders five more days of campaigning for the positions of student trustee, president and vice president before voting for those positions

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Nina Walat/Daily Collegian

By Sophia Gardner, Assistant News Editor

The Student Government Association’s judiciary at the University of Massachusetts held a hearing on Tuesday night to address the election’s preliminary injunction. The injunction was in response to two petitions filed against the elections commission.

After the hearing adjourned, the student judiciary voted to mandate that the SGA put president and vice president candidates Hayden Latimer-Ireland, Audrey Gabriel and student trustee candidate Barkha Bhandari on the election ballot. They also voted to mandate that five more days of campaigning for the positions of Student Trustee, President and Vice President before voting for those positions begins.

Latimer-Ireland, the SGA’s current attorney general, and Gabriel, the current chair of the social justice and empowerment committee, who are running for President and Vice president respectively, filed one petition against the election’s committee. The second petition was from Bhandari, who is running for student trustee.

Latimer-Ireland and Gabriel were told that they would not appear on the ballot because of an issue with the sharing of their list of signatures. The election’s committee also alleged that the ticket turned in their election nomination form late, despite confusion around the date of the Candidate’s Meeting, which served as the deadline.

Tickets for president and vice president need to get 200 signatures from the undergraduate student body in order to appear on the ballot.

The Student Judiciary also ordered that Latimer-Ireland “provide the SGA Elections Commission with access to all documents related to the nomination forms that are necessary to expedite the process of validating the signatures of their nomination papers,” according to the order.

“It is in the public interest for us to have free and fair elections with all of the tickets who received signatures to be on the ballot,” Latimer-Ireland said.

The election committee originally notified Bhandari that she would not appear on the ballot because of her failure to fill out the “intent to run” form, which states the candidates name, email, address and Spire ID.

Bhandari did successfully get the 250 signatures that are required to appear on the ballot.  Bhandari filed a petition in response, because the SGA’s bylaws do not explicitly mention an “intent to run” form.

If Bhandari were to get on the ballot, she would be the only candidate for student trustee who is not running as a write-in. “I think a maximum number of people should be engaged in the process of voting for the trustee candidate,” Bhandari said.

This hearing comes after the elections commission held an emergency meeting on Monday, where they voted to move voting back a day. Voting now begins early Wednesday morning at 12 a.m. and concludes Saturday, March 13 at 5 p.m. It originally began Tuesday morning.

The student judiciary’s order for five more days of campaigning may affect this timeline.

Sophia Gardner can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @sophieegardnerr.