Thursday, March 12, 2:26 a.m.
The independent body that oversees Student Association elections voted unanimously early Thursday to remove presidential candidate Kyle Boyer from the runoff election.
The Joint Elections Committee found Boyer, a junior, guilty of failing to report the use of a friend’s car on H Street, which he borrowed to display posters, play music and dance on during the general election. SA presidential candidates are required to report the fair market value of all items used for their campaign. The total value cannot exceed $1,000 for each candidate.
The estimated expenditures for the use of the car – determined using rental car pricing – pushed Boyer over the $1,000 limit by $92.63, adding an additional three violation points and disqualifying him from the runoff election. Boyer was assessed a total five violations – including one for Facebook ads – Thursday morning, bringing his violation total to eight.
Boyer said he is unsure whether he will take the issue to the Student Court, which has authority over the entire SA.
“Considering the margin by which we won in the general, I think we would be shortchanging the students if we gave up,” said Phil Bianchi, Boyer’s campaign manager and chief of staff in the senate. “As of right now, we haven’t read through all of the document. I think our next course of action is to go to the courts.”
On Feb. 26, Boyer missed winning the general election – 40 percent of the vote – by two votes. First runner-up Julie Bindelglass will now face second runner-up Nick Polk in a runoff election after students return from spring break, pending any court appeals.
Boyer argued that the car was not his, but rather private property of a friend, Dave Fowler. He said that since Fowler’s car would be parked on campus every other day of the week, parking it in on H Street in front of Kogan Plaza was no different.
“There is no delineation between space over here and space over there,” Boyer said. “Space isn’t regulated. It’s private property everywhere.”
The JEC found Boyer’s argument to be invalid, ruling that the car parked on H Street constitutes a campaign expenditure.
“The Committee can, and does, require the financial reporting of such private property,” the JEC wrote in a statement. “If we were to accept Mr. Boyer’s interpretation, the Committee could not require the financial reporting of private property such as posters, T-shirts or campaign buttons, which are also items owned privately but used for campaign purposes.”
The JEC heard Boyer’s defense for two and a half hours and subsequently spent more than three and a half hours deliberating on whether or not to remove the candidate from the ballot.
Eight years ago, Roger Kapoor, an SA presidential candidate, was removed from the ballot for similar election violations. Kapoor exceeded the $1,000 spending limit by $20 for failing to report the fair market value of pizza that he handed out to students in Thurston Hall.
Kapoor, who was a house proctor, received the pizzas at a discounted rate, but he did not report the pizzas at the value that average students would have to pay for them.
Though Kapoor was originally removed from the ballot, he was later reinstated by the Student Court.
To read more coverage, and to comment on this story, visit the Newsroom.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: (March 12, 2009)
In The Hatchet’s print edition, the article’s first quotation (“Considering the margin…”) was misattributed to Kyle Boyer. Phil Bianchi, Boyer’s campaign manager, said the quotation.