From Baldwin to Boyer: A brief history of SA controversies

Presidential candidate Kyle Boyer was two votes shy of winning the Student Association presidential seat this year and has since been disqualified from the runoff election in dispute over the fair market value of a borrowed car. The ordeal will likely be remembered as one of the SA’s greatest electoral controversies, but there have been many others throughout the years.

2008

OG Oyiborhoro was denied a spot on the presidential ballot – forcing him to run a write-in campaign – because he only submitted only 400 signatures on official JEC petition forms, less than the amount required for ballot access. The official forms, designed to prevent candidates from collecting signatures outside the registration period, were accompanied with another 147 signatures on plain paper, which were deemed invalid. Oyiborhoro received more than 22 percent of the vote in the general election, but Vishal Aswani and Kevin Kozlowski advanced to the runoff, with Aswani winning.

Complaints filed against Oyiborhoro were never heard by the JEC, as he was never an official candidate.

2002

Presidential candidate Josh Singer reached the 40 percent threshold by one vote in the general election. A recount showed that an absentee ballot from a student studying abroad was counted twice, bringing him to 39.998 percent. Runner-up candidate Phil Robinson captured only eight votes fewer than Singer.

Another absentee vote drew controversy when a student away at a conference in Georgia e-mailed a ballot to the JEC, but the JEC guidelines only allowed absentee ballots from students abroad or on a leave of absence from the University. Singer filed a complaint with the Student Court over the ballot.

The Student Court upheld the JEC’s ruling, and Singer ultimately lost to Robinson in the runoff.

2001

The JEC disqualified president-elect Roger Kapoor for exceeding his $1,000 campaign spending limit. Kapoor held a pizza party in Thurston Hall and listed the price of each pizza at $5.50, the discounted rate he received. JEC rules stated the candidate must list the “fair market value” of purchased items, which pushed him over the $1,000 limit.

The SA Student Court overturned the JEC’s disqualification, paving the way for a Kapoor presidency. The court case was cited frequently this year due to its parallels with the Boyer case.

1999

SA presidential candidate Phil Meisner, representing himself and four other candidates, arrived more than 15 minutes late to a mandatory JEC meeting. The JEC removed all five from the ballot, though they all continued with a write-in campaign.

With the votes tallied, the JEC unofficially declared candidate Alexis Rice president. A recount left Rice one vote short of the necessary 40 percent to win. Meisner then defeated Rice by 124 votes in a runoff.

Meisner’s staff was accused of ballot stuffing, but no charges materialized. Three JEC officials resigned amid the weeks-long controversy.

Meisner was later impeached and removed from office for inappropriate use of SA funds.

1979

Now an actor, Alex “Alec” Baldwin – then Program Board chair – finished third in the general election, missing the runoff by one vote. A recount was unsuccessful.

Baldwin later transferred to New York University and changed his name from Alex to Alec, but not before PB went bankrupt.

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