SA candidates find themselves tangled up in election violations

Candidates said they have been bogged down with violations in this year’s Student Association campaigns.

It’s a shame if people don’t think that they can win fairly, and that they need to break, or bend the rules, said presidential candidate David Burt.

Charges were brought against executive vice president candidate Chris Voss for alleged poster violations. Voss said members of another campaigning team saw one of his campaigners taking down PB candidate Liz Cox’s posters and replacing them with his own Wednesday evening. Voss had a hearing on Friday, and the charges were dropped.

This was basically an effort to keep me busy with tedious things, said Voss. It was more inconvenient than anything.

Other candidates have found that their own posters have been ripped down.

Presidential candidate Abby Lestition said she found Saturday 100 of her 150 posters taken down.

At the H Street terrace, you can still see the tape and how the posters were pulled down, she said. Postering began Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

Jeff Baxter, chair of the SA Election Committee, said the committee cannot do anything about the missing posters unless someone is caught tearing them down.

Lestition said she filed a violation with the Election Committee, even though she did not know who tore down the posters. In addition, she said she filed a report with UPD.

Presidential candidate David York also wrote in an e-mail that a number of his posters were torn down.

Apparently, someone would rather silence my ideas than compete with them, he wrote.

Incidents in this year’s campaign are much like experiences in the past, Baxter said.

There have probably been less violations this year than in the past years, Baxter said. There are some small mistakes that candidates have made.

Presidential candidate David Burt said two charges had been filed against him, but both were dropped.

Burt said one charge was filed after he held an ice cream social in the Hall on Virginia Avenue. He said one of his signs for the event, which he did not carry with him, was taken and hung up in another unauthorized location. Election rules stipulate that candidates must restrict postering to certain areas.

According to the SA election Web site, candidates Atif Qarni, Chris Voss, Ricky Dhaliwal, Matt Silverstein, Sarah Palacios, Jeremy Loew, Shira Kimmel, Alice Lingo, Abby Lestition and Pat McLaughlin were all accused of distributing unapproved campaign material, in the form of Hatchet Valentine’s Day messages, in the Feb. 10 edition of The Hatchet. In each individual case, the complaint was withdrawn or the Election Committee determined that the campaigners did not know, or approve, of the messages being placed. There were no sentences imposed.

Another source of contention centers around the pre-election financial reports, which were due Feb. 25 by 6 p.m. Presidential and EVP candidates were not allowed to exceed $1,000 and senatorial candidates could not spend more than $400, according to the Election Committee Web site.

There were a few candidates who did not hand in the preliminary financial reports, Baxter said. He said those candidates were notified and said the committee will administer a penalty.

We don’t want to have the campaign affected by money, Baxter said. And we want to prevent any candidate from having an extraordinary advantage.

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