ASG Rules Committee to hold closed election violation hearing Wednesday
April 20, 2016
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Associated Student Government’s Rules Committee will hold its hearing Wednesday night on the election violation regarding leaked voting margin data during this year’s presidential election.
The hearing comes after ASG’s election commission ruled Christina Cilento and Macs Vinson’s campaign violated election guidelines by failing to disclose they had received information about the voting margin while polls were still open.
The hearing, which will be held at 5:30 p.m. in Norris University Center, will be closed to the public, per Cilento’s request. According to ASG Code, either party can request a closed hearing.
Cilento, a SESP junior, declined to comment on the hearing.
The election commission ruled the campaign’s use of the leaks and decision not to come forward about them constitutes SESP sophomore Kevin Corkran, the commission member who leaked the information, as “working on behalf of” Cilento and Vinson’s campaign.
At the hearing, the Rules Committee, which currently has eight members including parliamentarian Shelby Reitman, will hear arguments from Cilento and Weinberg junior Lauren Thomas, the election commissioner. Both parties will also have the opportunity to present evidence and call witnesses.
The Rules Committee will then vote on whether to punish to Cilento and Vinson. If they decide to punish the ticket, they can recommend a range of punishments including removal from office, probation or a public apology.
“If the Rules Committee issues a punishment, Senate would hold a hearing Wednesday,” said Reitman, a Weinberg sophomore. “I would hope that if it goes to Senate then that hearing would be open to the public.”
Senate would then have to approve the punishment by a two-thirds vote. If the recommendation for punishment is rejected, a petition could be refiled to the Rules Committee to consider an alternative punishment.
“My ultimate goal is to see as fair and as just a resolution to this as possible,” Thomas said. “If I could go back and time and stop this from happening, I think that would be the best.”
Cilento and Vinson, a McCormick junior, beat Weinberg junior Joji Syed and Weinberg sophomore Archit Baskaran by 81 votes out of the 4,060 votes cast.
The Daily reported on Thursday that Corkran leaked information to Cilento and Vinson’s campaign at about noon and 4 p.m. on the second day of voting. Originally, Cilento told both The Daily and the election commission her campaign only received word that the voting margin was “extremely close” once, at about noon.
Cilento later admitted to receiving information again at about 4 p.m. that the voting margin was within five to 10 votes. Corkran, who was a senator representing Students for Ecological and Environmental Development, has since resigned from ASG.
Thomas added that she is working to revise ASG’s election guidelines to prevent leaks in the future, but also to address other problems encountered during the election cycle. Proposed changes, she said, could be brought before Senate before the end of this quarter.
This article was updated at 10:40 a.m. to reflect clarifications to ASG’s policy.