Allegations filed contesting 2012 elections

By Melhor Leonor/Asst. News Director

Following the announcement of the winning Student Government presidential ticket as Laura Farinas and Alex Castro, four grievances were filed to the Student Government Supreme Court questioning the legitimacy of the 2012 SGA presidential election.

Claiming evidence of voter fraud and failure to comply with the Student Body Elections Code, presidential candidate Sanjeev Udhnani and his running mate Connor Mautner filed two of the four court orders last Friday to the Court against the Farinas-Castro campaign.

“Throughout the campaign, we received copies of text messages from several sources in which they were asked to submit, or submitted, their panther ID’s and passwords so that members of the Farinas 2012 campaign can vote on their behalf,” said Gracie Aguero, the Udhnani-Mautner campaign’s compliance manager, in a press release.

The campaign’s management team claims to have evidence to demonstrate that the Farinas and Castro campaign “violated several regulations as laid forth by the Student Body Elections Code, including issues regarding conflict of interest, non-compliance with the elections code, failure to adhere to a private censure issued by Campus Life, and most importantly, voter fraud.”

If found guilty by the Elections Commission, the president-elect and vice president-elect would be subject to disqualification from their positions.

“We ran an honest campaign. With every single vote that we got we made sure that that person had information on what was going to be done,” said Farinas in an interview with Student Media last week. “If an appeal were to be sent in, I have no idea what grounds it would be on.”

The next day, April 7, another two court orders were sent by Anthony Maneiro, a petitioner, to the Court. The first was requesting the disqualification of both the Farinas-Castro and Udhnani-Mautner tickets and name the remaining candidates, Samir Patel and Andres Wu, the winners of the election.

According to the appeal, the Udhnani ticket and Farinas ticket were campaigning in no-campaign zones.

“By not following the Elections Code, these two tickets have compromised the 2012 SGA Elections, obtaining votes through methods specifically prohibited in our Statutes,” Maneiro said in the writ. “The nature, and multiple instances of these violations, show two presidential tickets that did not follow the rules, placing those that did at an inherent disadvantage that significantly impaired their ability to compete in the election.”

During the April 9 Senate meeting, Chief Justice Octavio Mella announced that the Court would not be hearing Maneiro’s court order on the grounds that they did have enough supporting material.

The second grievance by Maneiro was filed against the neutrality of the Elections Board and will be heard today at 9:30am, while Udhnani’s is to be held today at 8 a.m.

“We see the opportunity for another election, with one or two days of election at two central polling stations,” said Udhnani. “At the end of the day, the 4101 students who voted for me, voted into an illegitimate system.”

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