JEC takes six SA candidates off ballot

Six candidates plan to request an injunction Monday in student court after the Joint Elections Committee removed them from the ballot for not attending a mandatory candidates’ meeting last week.

But the JEC members and candidates involved in the case offer varying versions of the events surrounding the election’s first major conflict.

Jeff Marootian, acting counsel for Student Association presidential candidate Phil Meisner and executive vice presidential candidate Cat Sadler, said the candidates’ brief will focus on the JEC’s failure to follow a variety of procedures. The JEC regulates the SA, Program Board and Marvin Center Governing Board elections.

Marootian said the JEC made an “arbitrary determination” about the time Meisner arrived at the Feb. 16 mandatory meeting.

JEC rules say any candidate who arrives more than 15 minutes late to a mandatory meeting will be removed from the ballot.

Meisner said he arrived at 8:15 p.m. for the meeting, which was scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.

Meisner was also representing Sadler and four SA senatorial candidates – Elizabeth Cox, Liz Foo, Sarah Franklin and Heath Hanson – all of whom had proxied their attendance to him.

But Meisner is not considered a valid stand-in for Hanson because the JEC does not have Hanson’s notice of proxy.

Hanson said Meisner turned in Hanson’s proxy form Monday, but JEC Chair Kevin Burkett said the committee did not have a proxy for Hanson.

A hearing was scheduled to review the situation Friday at 1:15 p.m.

Sadler said she and Meisner attempted to delay the hearing because their counsel, Shane Morris, was out of town.

Burkett said it was impossible to hold the hearing on a different day because the names of the candidates had to be programmed into the polling machines that day.

JEC member Kim McCaughey said the JEC made the decision to remove Meisner and the other five candidates from the ballot before he arrived at 1:45 p.m.

Burkett said when Meisner arrived at 1:45 p.m., he was told the candidates had the right to appeal the JEC’s decision.

Burkett said Meisner and Sadler filed an appeal immediately after Meisner was told he was removed from the ballot. Burkett said their appeal was immediately granted, and Meisner understood he was to attend the appeals hearing at 7 p.m.

But there was confusion about whether Meisner should have been at the meeting Friday evening.

Marootian said Burkett told Meisner that he did not have to be present.

“If they felt they should have been there, they would have been there,” Marootian said.

“We were not aware of our presence being necessary,” Meisner said.

“I did not specifically tell him (to be present),” Burkett said. “We said on several different occasions, `We’ll see you at 7.’ We also made them aware the grounds for appeal was Phil’s new evidence.”

According to the candidates’ brief, the JEC did not allow Marootian to present evidence at the appeals hearing Friday.

Burkett said no new evidence was presented at the appeal hearing because Meisner was not there to present it.

Burkett also said Marootian and the JEC tried to contact Meisner. Meisner, who arrived an hour late, said he did not receive any communication from the JEC. He said he and Sadler filed another appeal to the JEC Sunday.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.