Appeals filed in SGA election

Hearing Thursday at 3:30 p.m. in CSC Cheyenne

Results for the Student Government Association elections were posted Monday, showing Jesse Brown, criminal justice junior, as the winner of the presidential race with 56 percent of the vote.

But Keith Lamb, vice president of student affairs and enrollment management, said Marco Torres, psychology senior and SGA presidential candidate with 33 percent of the vote, is protesting the election with multiple allegations that Brown violated election procedures.

“The allegations revolve around proxy voting and flier distribution. Proxy voting is essentially when you’re assigning your vote to another individual, so another individual would be using your credentials to vote,” Lamb said. “There are two allegations of proxy voting. One is the assigning of credentials, and the other is—and the board has always considered this proxy voting—where a table or something set up with a laptop where you’re pulling people in to vote.”

According to the election code contained in the SGA bylaws, last amended April 2012, “Voting by proxy is strictly prohibited.”

Lamb said another complaint alleges fliers promoting Brown’s campaign were posted without proper approval.

“I filed the complaint because it came to my attention that several campaign procedures were being broken and I felt like that wasn’t fair and it wasn’t right, and my opponent knew about these things and he did nothing to stop them. I feel that makes him just as responsible as the people doing it, and the student body deserves somebody better, somebody honest,” Torres said.

Despite several attempts, Brown could not be reached for comment by press time.

Rebecca Stogner, sociology junior and outgoing SGA president, said Brown and Torres can prepare their cases until Thursday when they will speak in front of the election board at 3:30 p.m. in CSC Cheyenne.

“They have to be able to prove with the preponderance of evidence that the bylaws had been broken, how they were broken, when they were broken, and to more importantly prove that it could have had an impact on the outcome,” Stogner said. “If there was no impact, then there’s really no point in protesting the process.”

Lamb said each candidate will be able to bring forth witnesses, whom each candidate and the election board can question. Then they will make closing statements before the five-member board takes a vote to decide how to handle the appeal.

According to the newly drafted Election Board Hearing Procedures, the board will determine by a 3/5 majority vote whether the defending candidate violated the election code. Then, if the board finds the code was violated, they will take another 3/5 majority vote to determine if the election should be voided, but, “it must be proven by the complainant the responding candidate had violated the Election Code to an extent that if affected the outcome of the election in question.”

Ultimately, Lamb said this should act as a learning experience for the individuals involved, and SGA as an organization.

“To me, the takeaway from this one for SGA, is they have some gaps in their bylaws that do not provide good direction on how the hearing itself is to occur,” Lamb said. “[The hearing] will be run by students. They don’t do this for a living. They don’t have expertise in this field, so I would be concerned with asking students who don’t deal with this everyday to do a hearing without structure. That could turn into something very challenging.”