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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ASUA court reinstates Tubbs

    The ASUA supreme court met with Elections Commissioner Jordan Miller last night and reinstated executive vice presidential candidate Rhonda Tubbs.
    The ASUA supreme court met with Elections Commissioner Jordan Miller last night and reinstated executive vice presidential candidate Rhonda Tubbs.

    Sen. Rhonda Tubbs was reinstated into the general election late last night after the ASUA supreme court found that one of the violations filed against her was not valid, though she still will not be allowed to campaign.

    “”I can’t campaign, but I’m just happy to be on the ballot. That’s all we really wanted,”” said Tubbs, a finance senior.

    Tubbs was disqualified for receiving two major and two minor violations last week, after receiving 34 percent of the vote during the primary elections.

    Tubbs received her final violation for illegally campaigning when fellow candidate, Matt Van Horn, had an endorsement for Tubbs on his America Online instant messenger profile last week.

    The ASUA supreme court found that the instant message was not an elections code violation in an informal decision last night, said Jennifer Baker, chief justice of the ASUA supreme court.

    “”She is not allowed to campaign, but she is allowed to be endorsed. Personal campaigning has been defined as different than an endorsement,”” said Van Horn, a marketing and entrepreneurship senior. “”By overturning this case, there is a distinction between the two, or else she wouldn’t have been reinstated.””

    Baker said the basis for the decision is still being worked out formally, but if Tubbs receives one more major or minor violation, she will be disqualified.

    Tubbs will run against David Reece, chief of staff to the executive vice president, in the upcoming general election March 7 and 8.

    Sen. Patrick Cook will be removed from the executive vice presidential ballot because he received the third-highest number of votes in the primary election, and there is only room for two candidates on the general election ballot, Baker said.

    Cook said he disagreed with the supreme court’s decision to reinstate Tubbs because he felt that her arguments were based on unethical
    behavior.

    Cook said he believed Tubbs received the most votes in the primary election because she continued to campaign, while Cook had fewer votes because he complied with the elections commission and stopped campaigning.

    “”I made sure my entire staff took everything down,”” said Cook, an education junior.

    While he disagrees with the reinstatement, Cook said he doesn’t plan to appeal the ruling.

    “”I think she should have just left it alone,”” Cook said.

    Elections commissioner Jordan Miller said the supreme court took the proper procedure and “”the situation played out the way it needed to be.””

    Yesterday’s hearing marked the fourth time the supreme court has heard an elections appeal since 1997.

    Former ASUA president Alistair Chapman found himself in a similar situation in 2004 after the ASUA supreme court ruled in his favor regarding elections code violations.

    Chapman nearly lost his position as student body president after his running mate, Josh Shapiro, filed 16 elections code violations against him.

    Had Chapman been found guilty of four of the violations, he would have been disqualified from the presidency, but 14 of the 16 charges were dismissed by the supreme court because of insufficient data, allowing him to keep his position.

    Chapman said although he hasn’t reviewed the supreme court’s opinion, he would rather see candidates campaign creatively without being afraid of minor violations.

    “”I think that this decision paves the way for other candidates to campaign with more freedom than if commissioner Miller’s decision was upheld,”” Chapman said. “”There are limits, but it’s important that candidates are given the ability through the elections code to educate students about their goals.””

    In the 2001 ASUA elections, Brandon D’Angelo was disqualified from the election for sending unsolicited e-mails to 4,200 students, which is an elections code violation.

    The supreme court reinstated him after the general elections took place, causing the student government to hold a special election for the administrative vice president position. D’Angelo lost the election to Sen. Tricia Williams in the special election.

    In the 1997 ASUA elections, when President Rhonda Wilson ran for re-election, she was disqualified for campaign expense violations. The supreme court denied several of Wilson’s appeals and Gilbert Davidson won the ASUA presidential position.

    The supreme court will provide a formal written opinion about the ruling for Tubbs’ reinstatement within 10 days.

    Zach Colick, Danielle Rideau and
    Anthony D. ǁvila contributed to this report.

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