There was a public hearing held on May 12 to review and discuss appeals made regarding alleged ASG election violations. The hearing covered events that occurred within the timeframe of the 2015 election period, which spanned from April 22 to May 4.
Three appeals were discussed during the hearing. Two were made against members of a campaign group for overstepping boundaries during the voting period.
The other appeal was submitted on May 4 by ASG Chief Justice Joel Allen, which claimed that during the 2015 Students of Color Conference, held from April 23 to 25, Gebriel Amare used other students’ identification numbers and login information to cast votes in place of the students themselves. According to the appeal, Gebriel had told another student that he used other students’ IDs and login information to vote for himself.
Amare said after the hearing, “On my behalf I had a few students who voted at the conference who wrote statements saying that that did not happen.”
Student Programs Coordinator Brandon Lueken said that he does not know how those particular students casted their votes at that time. There is data about when each person voted, but not who they voted for. The overall results are tallied, but not time-stamped and sourced. “We like to preserve the privacy of someone’s vote,” Lueken said.
Another appeal was submitted on May 10 by Trygve Vandal, which said Mecaele Alemayehu was handing out unsolicited slips of paper with multiple candidates’ names on them, which were in favor of one team over another.
The language used by Alemayehu was a point debated in the hearing. Alemayehu’s status as a non-native English speaker was used as a defense of his actions, saying that he may have been expressing himself in ways that he might not have known were violating bylaws.
ASG Associate Justice of External Affairs Austin White said, “If they don’t understand how to campaign, if they don’t understand what is right or what is wrong, what is not allowed and what is allowed, then that is on them to go search out the adviser or Melantha, as Paul did, which I commend you for, so in terms of that it’s on the onus of the candidate to ensure they know what to do and what they can do.”
Alemayehu was not present to give his testimony or answer questions, but others at the hearing delivered testimony for or against Alemayehu.
Student Programs Associate Director Nora Lance said at the hearing, “It was a piece of paper brought to the voting booth, and after the student voted, they just left it there.” The voting booth supervisors left for a “brief period of time,” during which the papers endorsing specific candidates may have been left at the voting stations.
Candidates cannot officially be held responsible for what students do with regards to voting, so when the students left the papers at the voting booth, it was not officially not something that the candidate could be blamed for.
When the public portion of the hearing concluded, participants were directed to leave the room and the committee deliberated before coming to a conclusion.
On May 12, the election committee released its findings, ruling that Alemayehu and Hussain were in violation of election bylaws, penalizing both by 20 votes. Amare was ruled to not be in violation of any bylaws.
ASG President Melantha Jenkins said, “I would like to say that, yes, this is something that we do have to consider and this is something that I did tell Paul at the barbecue, I also told him that I would address it and I’m pretty sure he watched me but I walked directly to Alemayehu and addressed this and told him some other verbatim that he could use for the situation, and then I did tell Paul that if he does bring this to election committee that we will handle it at that point.”
The official ruling states that no evidence was brought forward to the Committee that Amare did or did not use the student identification numbers and login information to cast votes for himself, and as such he was not proven to be in violation of any bylaws.