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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


“Unwanted messages, materials among violations”

Both Daniel Hernandez and James Allen each received 11 total violation checks against them in the ASUA general election, according to documents received by the Daily Wildcat through a public records request.

That is two more than the maximum allowed under the Associated Students of the University of Arizona elections code.

Checks can be applied in a variety of situations at the discretion of ASUA Elections Commissioner Michael Colletti. Checks are handed down for each violation of a section of the code that disrupts election procedure, gives an unfair advantage to a candidate, cannot be easily corrected or harms another candidate’s campaign. Additional checks can be given if a violation displays “”blatant disregard”” of the code or malicious behavior, causes direct harm to another campaign, is thought to be deliberate or proven “”to be severely or obviously advantageous to the candidate’s campaign.””

Hernandez is appealing all the violations of which he is accused and Allen is appealing nine of his 11 checks.

For Hernandez, the violations included allegations of campaigning during ASUA-sanctioned events and on ASUA property, both stemming from wearing a shirt advertising his slate, “”Team Red.”” He received two checks for allegedly sending automated messages to random phone numbers when ASUA forbids sending unsolicited messages in any form, and another for handing out flyers in the Manuel T. Pacheco Integrated Learning Center, which is a violation because the ILC computers are considered polling places.  

Hernandez’s final violation alleges that he and members of his slate were campaigning within the 75-foot limit imposed by ASUA. There is photographic evidence substantiating this claim, according to the report. Hernandez said a worker told him and his fellow slate members that they were free to campaign in the area.    

Hernandez said neither he nor another member of his slate sent automated text messages to anyone and that he had previously asked for evidence to prove the allegations. He also said he did not know wearing a T-shirt to the “”Learn without Concern”” gun forum was a violation since he was not aware the event was sponsored by ASUA. He said there were “”a lot of inconsistencies”” in how the code was applied throughout the election, especially in regard to slates.

“”I think the only way we can get any legitimacy back is to have a new, special election,”” Hernandez said. “”We can wipe the slate clean and start over because I think to have the old election have any bearing on the new one would be wrong.””

Hernandez received five checks prior to March 8 and six the final two days of the election.

Allen and his slate, which included Executive Vice President-elect Bryan Ponton and Administrative Vice President-elect Brett Ponton, each received three checks stemming from allegations that they campaigned door to door in Coronado Residence Hall, a charge all three denied in an email to Colletti. In the email, the candidates said they had encouraged constituents in the hall to garner support from their neighbors, but never told them to go door to door.

“”We apologize on behalf of our campaign and our supporters,”” the email states, “”however (we) would like to reiterate that we do not believe this claim to have been executed by any of the candidates themselves.””

The slate was also charged with two checks due to a complaint from a member of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority, who claims the slate members came to the sorority house soliciting votes. She also said they “”sat in front of the girls as they voted, looking over the voting process and influencing the votes of the girls at the house,”” according to the official document filed with the ASUA Supreme Court.

Allen and his slate responded to that charge in an email as well, and wrote that, though they and people affiliated with their campaign had traveled to Greek Life residences, they never oversaw any voting, or pressured anyone to vote a certain way.

The slate was charged an additional check for this offense due to the “”obvious advantage,”” it presented to their campaign according to the document.

Other allegations include claims that a slate staffer visited a club to actively campaign with an open computer and a list of people to vote for, and that a stack of campaign handouts was left in the U-Mart in the Student Union Memorial Center, charges Allen and his slate also refuted through email. There is photographic evidence of the campaign materials in the U-Mart, but Allen and his slate said there is no evidence members of their campaign were the ones to put them there.

Allen had been charged with two checks prior to March 8 and received an additional 10 over the course of the next two days. One of those checks was removed due to insufficient evidence, bringing Allen’s total to 11 and sparing both Brett and Bryan Ponton from disqualification, as that check would have pushed each of them above the maximum allowed.

“”I plan to appeal to nine of the 11 checks,”” Allen said. “”Under impression from the elections commissioner, the first two checks issued would be indisputable, and I did not file an appeal within the required 24 hour time period. The remainder of the checks (9) issued are being appealed.””

ASUA President Emily Fritze said the disqualification had put a “”damper”” on the beginning of a new semester for ASUA.

“”It is disappointing that we have to start off the next term this way,”” she said, “”but regardless of this, both candidates … or whoever ends up winning will hopefully do their best to come back from what happened and be able to prove they are a strong leader who can represent students effectively.””

Fritze said she understood some students’ frustration about the situation but believed the punishment given to Allen and Hernandez was fair.

“”It opens up the opportunity for students to have a voice,”” she said. “”They have a decision to make if … to determine if they can still support those candidates, or if they want to support someone else or run themselves.””

Fritze admitted that Allen and Hernandez would have an advantage in a special election but they would need to “”prove why they deserve”” the position.

Allen and Hernandez will both appear before the ASUA Supreme Court on Wednesday to argue their appeals.

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