SA Court orders JEC to review Abanto violation

The Student Association Court ruled that the election oversight body must reconsider a decision against SA Presidential candidate Marc Abanto that could disqualify him from last week’s runoff election.

In “Joint Elections Committee v. Abanto,” which originated from a complaint by a student before the runoff election took place, the JEC issued one penalty to Abanto for the actions of Student Union campaign worker sophomore Dan Pollock, who threatened students during candidate postering in February. In its decision made before the general election, the JEC ruled that Abanto was responsible for the actions of his agent, Pollock. The JEC charter states that any candidate charged with this violation must be disqualified from the ballot.

According to section 135 of the JEC charter, “any candidate who intimidates, threatens, coerces or promises monetary compensation to other persons for the purpose of interfering with or influencing the right of such other persons to vote or to vote as they may choose .. shall be disqualified.”

Because the JEC initially only issued Abanto one penalty, the student court ordered the JEC to reconsider the case. The Court is requiring the JEC to either penalize Abanto for the actions of Pollock, which would disqualify Abanto from the runoff election, or assess no penalties to Abanto, according to the a court document.

If Abanto is disqualified from the election it is unclear what the next step would be. Capp may be declared the winner of the election automatically, which would not change the results. Or if the JEC rules that Abanto was disqualified at least 24 hours before the start of the runoff election, then the next-highest vote getter from the general election would compete in the runoff.

JEC Chair Laura Bentele, a sophomore, said it is unlikely another runoff will be held.

“The likelihood of another runoff is slim, taking into consideration the information that is immediately available,” she wrote in an e-mail.

Sophomore Nicole Capp, who is the SA president-elect, had no comment on the issue. She has not yet been certified as the winner of the election pending approval from the University’s Student Activities Center to ensure she is in good standing to assume the office.

-Brandon Butler and Andrew Ramonas

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