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Your Party hit with $50 fine

BY MICHELE DANNO | APRIL 22, 2009 7:26 AM

The Student Elections Board ruled Tuesday that Your Party will face a monetary fine — not voter penalties — for complaints filed against it during campaigning.

After a slew of rulings and appeals, the elections board decided Your Party will face a $50 fine for the infractions, said Kendall Sater, codirector of the elections board.

The party’s UI Student Goverment presidential candidate, Emily Grieves, said that although she was “disappointed” in the guilty verdict, she said she’s glad Your Party will not lose any votes.

“I think the point is that there is not anyone who is getting disenfranchised, and that’s what we were worried about,” she said.

But leaders from both Go Party and L Party said they were upset with the decision.

“There’s really no incentive not to break the rules if it’s not going to cost you votes,” Go Party presidential candidate Mike Currie said. His campaign manager, Rob Pick, who filed the original complaints, agreed monetary fines are not much of a deterrent to cheating.

L Party presidential hopeful Ryan Kopf also said violations should be handled more seriously.
“I think that if you’re breaking rules that would help you get votes, you should lose votes,” he said. “It’s simple.”

Pick filed a complaint about “massively distributed” e-mails that were sent before campaigning began on March 30.

These e-mails violated the Student Elections Board’s campaign code because they were sent on March 26 and 29 to resident assistants, Elections Board officials said. The board originally charged Your Party with a 250-vote penalty, meaning those votes would be subtracted from the final count.
Grieves was notified about the board’s ruling on April 2 and appealed for a second hearing based on “procedural error” in the case. The Elections Board upheld the initial decision; Your Party officials then appealed the case to the Student Judicial Court.

The court held a hearing Tuesday to decide if the elections board violated Grieves’ right to due process when they found Your Party guilty and whether the 250 vote penalty was fair or not.

The court ruled Grieves was guilty of the charges, because the errors were too minimal to cause any harm, according to the ruling. But the court deemed the 250-vote subtraction “unconstitutional” and sent the case back to the Elections Board for a new penalty.

Sater said the board ultimately was left with two decisions: disqualify Your Party or monetarily fine it. The board developed “an equation” to calculate the $50 fine, she said.

The UISG election results will be announced today at 5 p.m.


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