Three out of the 4 presidential candidates facing allegations of violating election policy

Three out of the four candidates' campaigns for student body president are facing allegations that they have violated election policy, according to the Student Government election commissioner.

The allegations stem from reports made by students to the Student Government election commission and not from incidents witnessed by the commission.

At the moment, Steven Cole, the current vice president, is the only candidate not accused of breaking this rule.

Candidates Sabrina Ford, Jessica Howell and Aimee Frey were all contacted by The Echo to comment on the allegations. Howell has not yet responded to requests for comment.

“I’m confident that the Election Commission will review any alleged violations and take whatever actions they deem fit,” Frey said.

Election commissioner Jacob Butterfield said most of the violation allegations surround confusion on the specific university policy regarding approaching students with literature and information in the Student Center.

“Today I’ve been focusing on addressing these concerns,” he said. “Part of it is there’s a miscommunication where specifically for this the info desk has been relaying that it is OK to [approach] to hand out information.”

Ford says that the allegation against her campaign had nothing to do with the Student Center policy issue.

"I personally wasn't accused of violating campaign rules, but one of my poll managers was accused of being too close to someone who was voting," she said.

Ford also mentioned that some students had trouble casting votes on my.emich.edu Wednesday.

"I have been trying to ask if the system may have cast votes for students by mistake, but they are not sure," she said. "I know that there were dozens of cases that I personally witnessed where students were unable to vote and the system said that they had already done so."

When the 2014 presidential election faced a similar controversy, a Student Center employee told The Echo that in order to pass out literature, people must have a reserved table and solicitors may not approach other people. There is no indication that this policy has changed.

Breaking this Student Center policy, which is considered a university policy, in turn violates Student Government bylaws regarding elections because Chapter 6, Section 4, which addresses campaigning states: “All campaigning must be done in accordance with University policies.”

Butterfield say he does not foresee any sanctions for candidates at this time so long as the confusion surrounding the Student Center rules regarding approaching students is cleared up.

“At this time no sanctions have been imposed,” he said. “A lot of the time it’s been working to proactively meet and talk with candidates here to really focus on explicitly explaining and the policies and the procedures.”

Election results are scheduled to be released at 9 p.m. Thursday. The Echo will provide up-to-date information regarding the election until a winner is named.


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