2 candidates must stop campaigns

Anthony Avila

Two student government candidates committed enough campaign violations last week to disqualify them from further campaigning.

Rhonda Tubbs, an Associated Students of the University of Arizona senator and executive vice president candidate, said she was informed yesterday that she had two major campaign violations and she will have to stop campaigning immediately.

Sen. Patrick Cook, acting senate chair and executive vice president candidate, said he also must discontinue his campaign because of violations.

Jordan Miller, the ASUA elections commissioner, said she wouldn’t comment on any specific candidate or confirm that any violations were committed.

Miller said she deals with all complaints confidentially, although candidates have the discretion whether to reveal information about code misconduct. However, she confirmed that more complaints were submitted last week than in previous weeks.

Tubbs said she was informed yesterday of the first violation, which occurred Feb. 14 when Tubbs gave out cookies on the UA Mall without approval by the elections commission.

The next day, a friend of Tubbs wore one of her campaign buttons with Tubbs’ name to an ASUA senate meeting, which Tubbs said she found out about from Miller on Friday.

The elections code glossary lists buttons as a campaign material. The display of campaign material near an ASUA meeting is prohibited by the elections code.

Tubbs said she will abide by the decision of the elections commission, but she will appeal it because one of the violations was unreasonable.

“”Everyone is going to mess up at some point,”” said Tubbs, a business administration senior. “”A person can’t control everyone on their staff, so violations occur whether you want them to or not.””

Last week Cook’s staff sent 400 e-mails soliciting votes from club leaders and students and four of them were “”unsolicited,”” Cook said.

According to the code, each e-mail must identify the recipient by name as a way to prevent candidates from sending unsolicited e-mails to hundreds of students at a time. Cook said one of the four recipients must have made the complaint.

At a Residence Hall Association forum Thursday, Cook passed out plain chef hats as reminders for voters to remember his name, but the hats were considered campaign material that had not been approved by the elections commission, he said.

“”When the senate approved the elections code, we were under the impression that campaign material had to have stuff written on it,”” Cook said. “”But the elections commission considered it campaign material because they were used to solicit votes.””

Though Cook said he decided not to file an appeal, he believes he can make it through primaries this week and could possibly campaign afterward if the commissioner allows it.

“”If we make it past the primaries, the elections commission might change their mind because it’s not serving the student body sufficiently,”” said Cook, an education junior.

According the elections code, a third major violation will eliminate them from the election altogether.

Tubbs said she believes her case will be heard because other candidates have told her they agree that the elections commission has been “”over the top”” with how it has enforced the policy.

Miller said she is trying to look out for the best interest of the candidates, but she can’t go around what’s written in the elections code.

“”I myself am not a tough person, but I am a ‘by the rules’ person,”” said Miller, a business administration senior. “”As elections commissioner, I am bound by the code and I will follow the code.””

Sen. Ryan Montana Erickson, a presidential candidate, said Miller is attempting to run as clean of an election as possible, which many candidates haven’t had to deal with before.

“”Some people are having difficulty campaigning as hard as they can and trying to stay within the elections code,”” said Erickson, a public administration junior. “”It’s a fine line to walk, but sometimes you end up on the wrong side of it.””

Laura E. Conway, a senatorial candidate, said there hasn’t been any mud-slinging or dirty campaigning because of how closely the elections commissioner is following the code.

“”(Miller) is doing a good job of trying to regulate everything,”” said Conway, a political science freshman.

While most complaints are made by candidates or students involved with the campaigns, Miller said she also considers complaints made by other sources, depending on the situation. For example, she said, she would listen to a department official who said a candidate had broken the elections code in a UA building.

Article 4-2.11 of the ASUA elections code reads: “”Each candidate must submit a copy of any other type of campaign material used in the campaign, and it must be approved by the elections commission before distribution.””

The second violation falls under article 5-1.06, which states: “”No campaigning or campaign materials are allowed in any office of the Associated Students at any time prior to or during the election period.””

The guideline on electronic correspondence is article 5-1.12, which reads: “”The use of UA Listservs and e-mail addresses to send unsolicited e-mails is strictly prohibited. E-mails must be addressed to specific individuals including first and last names and/or to specific clubs or organizations in the body paragraph of the e-mail. Furthermore, it is prohibited to send spam e-mails and to send unsolicited e-mails to individuals.””