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Ticket not punished for election violation

Steve Santay | Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Judicial Council decided not to reprimand Zach Reuvers’ sophomore class council ticket on accusations involving the misuse of funds and campaign materials because the accusations did not change or affect the outcome of the election.

Reuvers’ ticket lost to Cynthia Weber’s ticket, the Judicial Council announced on March 12, nearly two weeks after the run-off election between the two tickets took place on Feb. 28. The Council delayed the release of the results until their investigation of Reuvers’ ticket was finished.

An anonymous source originally told the Judicial Council Reuvers had broken campaigning regulations by spending too much money on flyers and by distributing posters that had not been approved. Judicial Council vice president Daniel Smith would neither confirm nor deny whether Reuvers’ competition, the Weber or Hannah Ha tickets, were involved in bringing forth these allegations.

“The Council did meet and determined that one of the two allegations brought forward was valid,” Smith said. “However, the committee determined that the outcome of the election was not changed, so no formal punishment was handed out.”

Strict rules that govern student government campaigns allow only $75 to be spent on flyers. The accusation made against Reuvers’ ticket by an anonymous source claimed that they went over this amount.

After reviewing the Reuvers ticket’s records, the Judicial Council determined only $67 were spent in this manner. The allegation was subsequently dismissed.

The ticket was also accused of using unapproved campaign materials, a claim that turned out to be true according to the Council’s investigation.

After the primary elections on Feb. 25, the ticket changed the voting date on its posters to read Feb. 28, in order to encourage sophomores to vote the run-off election. The Reuvers ticket, however, did not get approval from the Judicial Council to make this change to its posters.

A similar issue had been raised earlier in the campaign.

The day before the primary elections, a complaint was raised against Reuvers for handing out unapproved campaign materials. While most of the posters his ticket used carried the approval stamp from the Judicial Council, a few were overlooked. Some of the posters that circulated the campus – though the Council had approved their content – were prohibited because they had not been individually stamped.

The Judicial Council could not say if the source of this particular allegation is the same one as the two later claims.

Reuvers and Steven Ouyang, who ran together for president and vice president respectively, said that while they tried to focus their campaign on the issues that matter to the electorate, they lost valuable campaign time answering to the allegations against them.

“It is unfortunate that some people felt it was necessary to bring such negativity into this election,” Ouyang said. “The spirit of the elections is about what in the end gets done for the class and not about minute details that do not affect the voters.”

Reuvers echoed his words, adding that he was surprised to see the degree to which some people went to damage his campaign.

“When it comes down to it, this is a sophomore class council election and I am surprised some people took this as far as they did,” he said.

He also said that the timing of the accusations led him to believe they were planned to hurt his chances of winning.

“It was a funny coincidence that the first allegation came right before the primary and the second the day of the run-off,” he said.

Many freshmen said the accusations influenced their choice of ticket.