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McGavick-Gayheart ticket to forfeit 12 percent of votes following Judicial Council sanction

| Friday, February 23, 2018

Updated Saturday at 1:53 p.m.

The McGavick-Gayheart ticket will be required to forfeit 12 percent of the votes cast for it during Friday’s student government presidential runoff election, Judicial Council announced in a press release Friday morning.

According to the release, juniors Gates McGavick and Corey Gayheart were “found to have supporters releasing confidential information from previous Judicial Council allegation hearings, as well as engaging in a continued pattern of unethical behavior,” which violated Judicial Council’s Election Regulations and Sections 13.4(e), 17.1(g) and 17.1(h) of the Student Union Constitution.

The aspect of the Election Regulations the ticket violated, the release said, mandates that candidates are “responsible for [their] actions as well as the actions of [their] supporters.” Section 13.4(e) of the Student Union Constitution states that, aside from information included in Judicial Council press releases, “all other information pertaining to hearings and appeals shall be considered confidential.”

Section 17.1(g), another section the ticket was found to have violated, reads, “Candidates may not be involved in or instruct others to engage in any unethical behavior as detailed in 17.1(h).” Section 17.1(h), the final section Judicial Council found the ticket to have violated, states that “Candidates are expected to behave ethically at all times” and states that examples of unethical behavior are “monopolization of limited bulletin board space, covering or defaming of any other candidates’ posters, insulting or defaming other candidates and harassment or misconduct toward any election officials.”

According to the press release, “Judicial Council will not release the election results while there are pending allegations and appeals,” in accordance with Section 17.1(m) of the Student Union Constitution.

“Our team is very disappointed in Judicial Council’s decision,” McGavick said in a statement emailed to The Observer. “We respect the confidentiality of the process and, as such, can’t share anything about the content of the politically motivated allegations. We wish we could, however, because they read like a bad episode of ‘House of Cards.’ We will be appealing the decision in the senate.”

Senate called an emergency meeting to hear the McGavick-Gayheart ticket’s appeal Saturday afternoon, but a quorum was not met at the time the meeting started. As a result, the appeal was not heard, and the Election Committee’s decision of a 12 percent forfeiture of votes stood.

This is the fifth instance of sanctions issued by Judicial Council in this year’s election, including one that requires the Kruszewski-Dunbar ticket to forfeit 10 percent of votes it receives in Friday’s runoff election.

With the forfeitures in place for both tickets in Friday’s runoff election, it is possible that neither ticket receives a majority of votes to be declared winner. Should that be the case, the election will go to an electoral college system that is currently in place in the event of a tie, senior and Judicial Council president Matt Ross said, as there is currently no procedure in place for the event that neither ticket receives a majority in a two-ticket race.

“What happens is, I have to breakdown the votes from [Friday], in terms of senate constituencies — that’s the term that the constitution uses — and I will then read off the votes based on senate constituency,” Ross said. “So … it basically turns into an electoral college, and then count the votes. Whoever wins, wins.”

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