Results of the 2010 Student Government Association Election for president and vice president of Monroe Park Campus have been challenged and Judicial Branch justices are working to decide three cases concerning accusations of campaign violations.
According to Joshua Maye, the chief justice of the SGA Judicial Branch, three grievances were filed against the two candidates who received the most votes among the three party tickets. Two out of the three grievances were filed before the polls closed Thursday, April 1.
According to the SGA Web site, grievances can be filed within seven days after the polls close and are reviewed by the SGA Judicial Board, which consists of five justices.
The Elections and Appointments Branch released official results for 30 newly appointed senators Monday, but also stated on the SGA Web site that the final results from the executive election will be certified this week.
The unofficial results listed on the Web site for the three executive tickets state: Kanwar Singh Anand and Jim Thompson received 1740 votes, Adele McClure and Joshua Maye received 1613 votes, and Joshua Ronk and Lisa Opie received 442 votes.
The accusations against Anand and Thompson are currently being reviewed by three of the justices of the Judicial Branch. Anand and Thompson said they do not wish to comment until the cases have been decided and the results are certified.
Maye said the justices have 14 days after they reach a decision for each case to release that information. He said the justices typically do not take the full 14 days to present the final decision to the public.
All five justices, including Maye, review cases. However, Maye said he recused himself from his chief justice duties in order to avoid conflict of interests during the review the cases. Maye was an executive election candidate.
Deputy Justice Ta’Shawn Lyle also recused himself because an odd number is needed to reach a final decision for the cases.
Maye said after a decision to dismiss the charge, write a letter of reprimand or disqualify the election results and candidates is made, the candidates may appeal the cases’ outcome in writing within one week of the results.
“As soon as all three cases are decided, I will certify the results and congratulate the winning candidates,” Maye said.
According to Article V of the 2009-10 Judicial Guidelines:
- A violation can be brought to the Judicial Branch anytime from the first day of official campaigning to (24) twenty-four hours after polls have closed.
- A violation may be filed by any student to the Judicial Branch regarding violation of the election rules.
- The Judicial Branch as a group may not file complaints to itself regarding a particular candidate, although an individual member of the Branch may file a complaint.
- A violation must cite clearly and concisely the rules presumed to be violated. Evidence may also be submitted with the violation. All violations must be filed correctly and within the timelines in order to be considered by the Judicial Branch.
- The person for which the violation is against will be contacted and told of the alleged charge. The Judicial Branch must establish a hearing within 48 hours of receiving the violation and must contact both parties within that time period to establish a time and place for a hearing.
- A majority vote of the Judicial Branch shall decide the resolution of the complaint.
- Decisions of the Judicial Branch may be appealed in writing within one calendar week of the written opinion should new evidence or extenuating circumstances be established.
According to the Joint Elections Committee Bylaws, prohibitions meriting grievances include:
- Posting material in inappropriate places as stated in the Elections Bylaws, Constitution, VCU Insider and Provost’s website and other places where VCU policies are posted.
- Exchanging money or services with voters in an attempt to obtain votes.
- Possessing or seeking to obtain official Elections Committee information prior to its official release.
- Actively campaigning or posting any campaign material within any University computer lab, the James Branch Cabell Library, University Student Commons, or inside any VCU dining outlet. This includes actively campaigning, posting, or handing out materials including but not limited to fliers, handbills, or stickers.
- Harassing, hassling, threatening, verbally or physically assaulting, or otherwise intimidating any student.
In addition, the bylaws state the use of personal computer as voting centers is permitted; however, no campaigning can be done in such a manner as to intimidate the voter. Candidates must remain on the opposite side of the computer and may not watch or question the way a student casts his or her vote.