North Texas Daily

Complaint delays results from SGA runoff election

Complaint delays results from SGA runoff election

April 15
23:48 2013

Joshua Friemel / Managing Editor

Results from the Student Government Association runoff election were delayed yesterday due to a complaint by one of the vice presidential candidates. The results will be made official at 3 p.m. today if an appeal isn’t filed to the UNT Supreme Court.

Current SGA president Rudy Reynoso said that communications junior Jake Dionne, vice presidential candidate and running mate of sociology junior Precious Femi-Ogunyemi, filed a complaint on Saturday.

According to Dionne v. Election Board, the complaint submitted to the election board, pre-political science sophomore Zachary Brown was “campaigning in the library” by having “people vote on his laptop at Willis Library” during the runoff from last Wednesday to Friday.

Femi-Ogunyemi declined comment, but a comment on a status update on her Facebook from last Friday said, “If any of you were in the library today and saw a presidential candidate in the Willis Library getting votes, please message me.”

Brown said it was not “illegal to be in the library” and that “it’s a more complicated situation than that.”

The results were supposed to be made public at 5 p.m. yesterday, but a meeting for the election board was held at 1 p.m. to vote on the complaint’s effect on the runoff election results.

“We met with both sides and we heard from both sides,” said SGA election board coordinator Devin Axtman, who also said he couldn’t comment on specific details concerning the meeting.

Although he doesn’t vote, Axtman said, “The five other members there voted on if the complaint was a bylaw violation.”

Axtman declined to say what results the vote yielded about the complaint.

Melissa McGuire, advisor to SGA, said the results haven’t been made public yet because the complaint was filed after the elections ended on Friday at 5 p.m.

“We want to give whoever filed the complaint, or even the person that the complaint was filed against, at least 24 hours to appeal the decision of the complaint so they feel like they got their due process,” she said.

She said an appeal can be filed by 3 p.m. today. If an appeal is filed, election results will not be made public.

If an appeal is filed, then the UNT Supreme Court will have 72 hours to hear the appeal and the results would then become public 24 hours after a decision is made, McGuire said. She said the appeal could go all the way to the UNT Senate, extending the delay in the election results even further.

According to the SGA bylaws, in Article 5, Section 5, Line D,  stated that candidates in a runoff election “will be given one academic week…to campaign.”

Last week, Reynoso told the Daily that the runoff election would be held in either the following week or the week after that. Elections then began the day after the initial results were published at midnight on Wednesday and ended on Friday.

In Dionne v. Election Board, the Election Board said “while we admit that this runoff election was plagued with inconsistencies due to miscommunications…we do not believe Zach [Brown] intentionally violated the election code, nor do we feel his actions affected the results in an unfair way.”

The SGA made the runoff election news official on its Facebook page last week, which has 1,159 likes at the time of print, and its Twitter page, which has 787 followers. The UNT student body hovers around 36,000 students.

In the most recent runoff election, Blake Windham defeated Kellie Hill after only three percent of the student body voted in 2011. Ten percent voted in the primary election that year. This year the number of votes in the primary election dropped to eight percent of the student body.

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