The Student Government Association (SGA) Senate, in an overwhelming 31 to 6 vote, decided to uphold Parliamentarian sophomore Ryan Nelson’s decision to disallow submissions of campaign violations after the ballot closed. As a result, a run-off election between juniors Liz Brodsky and Mike Newberg’s ticket and juniors Max Weiss and Chris Moy’s ticket will be held this weekend. Juniors Ethan Levitt and Joseph LaValle’s ticket is no longer in the running.
The Senate met on Tuesday, April 13 in the Ho Lecture Room in Lawrence Hall to vote on the issue. The meeting was presided over by Speaker of the Senate, senior Herbert Hill. Senators voted whether or not to overturn Nelson’s parliamentary decision, which was that no violations could be filed after the ballots closed, though candidates could appeal violations already submitted.
The negative vote means that run-off elections will be held this weekend after a brief campaign period that began on Wednesday afternoon. The decision centered on complex rules and differing interpretations of the SGA Constitution, but it essentially came down to the question of whether or not campaign violations could be filed after the poll closed.
After the Senate voted against overruling his decision, Nelson expressed reserved satisfaction.
“I am glad that we are following the process,” Nelson said. “My job is to make sure that it is a fair process. We will continue to ensure that we get a fair process and that the right person is selected by the student body.”
Senators arguing for the majority described the unprecedented process as “embarrassing,” “ridiculous” and as “a fiasco.” Several emphasized the importance of returning the ultimate decision to the student body in the form of a run-off election.
Current SGA President and senior Mike Schneider addressed the Senate during the debate period, urging members to vote no and hold Nelson’s decision as valid.
“This thing has been wild,” Schneider said of the process. “If [Nelson] is overturned, some really bad precedents are being set. It turns the election into a mudslinging battle that will be repeated again and again. Whoever wins the mudslinging battle will have no mandate. It is my official recommendation to side with [Nelson] and not overturn the decision.”
Had the senate voted yes and thus overruled Nelson, the candidates would have been able to file further violations against each other, which would then be evaluated and tallied. The victor would then have been decided by whichever ticket had the most votes remaining after all violations and appeals had been considered.
“This is supposed to be a democratic process,” Schneider said. “It is supposed to reflect the democratic will of the student body. If [Nelson] were overturned, there would have been an appeals circus that would have simply distorted the meaning of the elections. The students must make the choice, otherwise the new president can have no mandate.”
The results of the runoff elections between the Brodsky and Newberg ticket and the Weiss amd Moy ticket will be announced Monday morning.
Contact James Bourne at [email protected]