Judicial Council announces allegations of campaign misconduct
Observer Staff Report | Thursday, February 9, 2017
The Election Committee of the Judicial Council announced Wednesday in a press release it will not release the student government election results pending an appeal of allegations of campaign spending misconduct against the Fonseca-Narimatsu ticket.
According to the press release, the Judicial Council found juniors Rohit Fonseca and Daniela Narimatsu “in violation of Section 17.2(e) and 17.2(f) of the Student Union Constitution” over the course of their campaign for student body president and vice president.
Section 17.2(e) requires all candidates to notify the Election Committee of any campaign purchases before the candidates use the materials purchased as part of their campaign.
“Receipts for all election materials purchased or donated must be presented to the Election Committee prior to any use of the materials,” the section reads. “All receipts must be accompanied by a list of materials purchased.”
According to the press release, Fonseca and Narimatsu violated this section through their social media advertising.
“The ticket purchased Facebook advertising prior to receiving proper approval from the Election Committee,” the release said.
Rather than a “forfeiture of candidacy,” as Section 17.2(f) of the Student Union Constitution calls for, the press release said the Election Committee has determined the penalty for these violations will remove 7 percent of the votes cast for Fonseca and Narimatsu in the election, according to the press release.
“As an appropriate sanction the Election Committee hereby requires the Fonseca-Narimatsu ticket to forfeit 7 percent of votes cast for the candidates’ ticket,” it said. “In the event of a runoff, the Election Committee has decided to suspend campaigning for 24 hours from the time campaigning begins.”
Fonseca and Narimatsu will have 12 hours to appeal the allegations, during which the results of the election will not be released, the press release said.
“Judicial Council will not release the election results while there are pending allegations and appeals per Section 17.1(m) (5) of the Student Union Constitution, ‘No election result may be released to the public while any allegation or appeal is pending,’” it said. “The earliest release time for results would be tomorrow, Thursday, Feb. 9, at 11:45 a.m.”
As of press time, emails seeking comment from the Fonseca-Narimatsu ticket had not been returned. The Blais-Shewit ticket had no comment.