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Bongratz/Dykyj ticket wins election after other two tickets disqualified

Editor-in-Chief

Published: Thursday, April 12, 2012

Updated: Thursday, April 12, 2012 06:04

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Ryan Clair/IC

Paulette Bongratz (right) embraces Jodie Young, a freshman majoring in nursing, after being announced the new SG President Tuesday night. The victory comes after the Stricklin/Delly and Ngo/Richardson tickets were disqualified Monday.

After a Student Government election that saw four disqualifications and 15 formal complaints, the only ticket left to succeed the Rubin/Maddocks administration was Paulette Bongratz and Chris Dykyj.

“We put a lot of hard work into it and the reason we were running was because we wanted to help the students so we’re excited to have the opportunity to follow through with all of our hopes and dreams,” Bongratz said.

The winning ticket was announced at the beginning of Tuesday’s Student Senate meeting.

The announcement was initially meant to be made Thursday night but was postponed due to hearings which took place last week over tickets’ financial statements.

The Stricklin/Delly and Ngo/Richardson tickets had complications with their financial statements and were found in violation of the SG Election Manual, which states tickets must turn in all of their paperwork before the set deadline  last Wednesday at 8 p.m.

Presidential candidate Tate Stricklin said he was told by the Election Board he and the Ngo/Richardson tickets lost their appeals Monday and were disqualified.

“That’s it, that’s the icing on the cake... it’s final,” Stricklin said.

A source familiar with the situation who wished to remain anonymous said the Ngo/Richardson ticket turned in their contribution forms on time but not the receipts from their campaign.

“Failure to submit expenditure forms or contribution forms and original receipts on time… will result in immediate disqualification,” according to the election manual.

While other sources confirmed the Ngo/Richardson lost their appeal, Vice Presidential candidate Patrick Richardson said there were no appeals and he assumed everything was resolved Thursday. He dismissed the disqualification as a “rumor.”

“I’m not sure who or how it got resolved,” he said. “From my point of view, we didn’t get enough votes to win.”

SG Adviser Jessica Spradley said voting numbers will not be released from the Office of Student Involvement and no student has them.

“[The votes] are tabulated for the eligible candidates so with the disqualifications, there was only one eligible ticket,” she said.

Stricklin said he is unsure whether or not he would have won the election had he remained in the race.

“The election will be defined by a technicality, not by the student voice,” Stricklin said. “We had a lot of support. Did we have enough votes to win? The world may never know.”

Bongratz said she does not “think there is any way to fully know” the voting numbers.

“I personally believe we would have a chance either way − otherwise I wouldn’t have put so much hard work and time into [the campaign],” Bongratz said. “I wouldn’t have run if I didn’t think we honestly had the opportunity… of being Student Government President and Vice President.”

The race started off with five tickets declaring their intent to run in the beginning of March.

The Gold/Harbin campaign was disqualified from the race March 13 for being in violation of Section IV, 1 of the Election Board Manual, which states candidates must be enrolled at UT and meet eligibility requirements as outlined in the UT Student Handbook and SG Constitution.

The Engle/Teall ticket was also found in violation of Section IV, 1 of the manual and disqualified March 30.

Presidential candidate Heather Engle, who is also chair of the senate, underwent impeachment hearings Tuesday night over her GPA not meeting the 2.5 requirement to serve in SG.

The Ngo/Richardson campaign was disqualified from the race last week over an alleged iPad raffle and controversy over their logo but won both of their appeals and was reinstated last Thursday, hours before voting closed.

The Ngo/Richardson and the Stricklin/Delly ticket were then both disqualified for problems with turning in financial statements for their campaign Monday.

Bongratz said she plans to work with Rubin to prepare for when she will take over as SG president.

“I’m very much organized and goal-setting, so I’ll spend the summer to prepare for the school year and spend the last month learning the ropes,” she said.

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