By: Joshua Ceballos/News Director
The SGC-MMC supreme court ruled unanimously on Saturday, April 14 that Ariadna Natteri is ineligible to run for At Large senator because she did not withdraw her initial application for SIPA senator and never filed a new application for At Large.
“The candidate acknowledged that she understood the elections code when she applied for the position and also in the candidate packets all candidates are given the elections code when running for a senate seat and therefore, she was fully aware of the elections code procedures,” read the decision of the court.
Natteri is eligible to run for SIPA according to the ruling, but elections have already passed and she ran for At Large on the ballot that was used on Tuesday, April 9 and Wednesday, April 10.
Final election results have not been released as of the time of this posting.
Update 4/8/19 10:01 p.m.:
SGC-MMC Elections Commissioner Labib Ahmed confirmed that Ariadna Natteri will be on the ballot as an At Large senator candidate, not as a SIPA candidate.
The justification for this decision, according to Ahmed, is that Natteri sent her email explaining her mistake to Ahmed and SGA advisors before the ballot was finalized, so she is allowed to run for At Large.
The issue is still under review by the SGC-MMC judicial branch.
A candidate running for an At Large senator seat in the Student Government Council at the Modesto Maidique Campus didn’t originally apply for this position, and her change of plans may be a violation of the elections code.
Ariadna Natteri is the current At Large senator in SGC-MMC. At Large senators represent the whole of the student body, rather than representing a specific school. Natteri appeared on the ballot for the 2019-2020 SGA elections as a candidate for At Large, but when she submitted her application, she was going for the School of International and Public Affairs seat.
Natteri’s application, which was submitted on Thursday, Feb. 21, one day before the Friday, Feb. 22 deadline, clearly states “SIPA senator” in the position spot. Also, in Natteri’s biography/platform section, she wrote: “I will use my experience as an involved student on campus, a small business owner, and a congressional intern to advocate for the students at the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs.”
Natteri told Student Media that this was a mistake, but SGC-MMC housing senator Victoria Larson believes this was an act of foul play.
“I didn’t find out that she was running for At Large until the day of the At Large debate on Tuesday, March 26,” said Larson. “The way I interpreted it, she saw how competitive the SIPA race was because SIPA had nine people running and three seats available whereas At Large had three people running and three seats available.”
Larson told Student Media that she filed a writ of certiorari against Natteri for violating the elections code which governs SGA elections, asking the judicial branch to consider this situation for a legal review.
Section 6.04 of the elections code states that once a student has filed an application for a seat or office, she or he may not change to any other seat unless the original application is withdrawn and the application period is still open.
Natteri said that she sent an official email to the elections board on Sunday, March 10 telling them that her application had a mistake and to change her to At Large. This was almost a month after the Feb. 22 deadline for applications, which would make it impossible to change, according to the elections code.
In the ballot list that was sent to Student Media by SGC-MMC Elections Commissioner Labib Ahmed on Sunday, March 17, and reconfirmed on Friday, March 22, Natteri was still listed as a SIPA candidate.
Because several seats including At Large and SIPA will have to be re-voted for on Tuesday, April 9 and Wednesday, April 10 due to a technical error, Natteri has yet to get elected.
Members of the SGC-MMC elections board told Student Media that a hearing would be held on Monday, April 8 to discuss whether Natteri should run in the At Large or SIPA race, but no concrete time for the meeting was provided.
John Boris, a member of the elections board, told Student Media over the phone that the board met to discuss the matter and that the case is now in the hands of the judicial branch.
Natalie De La Osa, chief justice of SGC-MMC’s judicial branch, told Student Media on Monday, April 8 that she could not comment on the writ or Natteri’s case as it is currently under review.
PantherNOW will continue to update this story as it develops.
Additional reporting by Valentina Palm/Staff Writer