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Two more SG candidates disqualified from election

News Editor

Published: Thursday, April 5, 2012

Updated: Thursday, April 5, 2012 04:04

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Nancy Ngo

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Heather Engle

Student Government campaigns Engle/Teall and Ngo/Richardson have been disqualified from this week’s race.

While the Engle/Teall ticket was dismissed before voting began, the Ngo/Richardson campaign will remain on the ballot.

Last week, Engle was found in violation of campaign rules and said in a statement she was awarded a “hefty fine” in terms of points against her ticket.

This week, Ngo/Richardson was disqualified after two of three hearings ruled the ticket in violation of the SG Election Board manual.

The ticket was found guilty of distributing new campaign material despite sanctions against them and of infringing upon the Ohio Revised Code and, therefore, the Election Board manual.

The most serious claim, concerning a violation of Chapter 35 of the Ohio Revised Code, is in response to alleged posts concerning an iPad raffle for those who vote for Ngo/Richardson made by former SG Presidential ticket Max Gold and Kenneth Harbin.

At the hearing, Gold and Harbin denied they posted the messages on their own accounts.

SG Presidential candidate Tate Stricklin said the charges were filed against the Ngo/Richardson campaign because Gold and Harbin are considered campaign workers for the ticket.

The Election Board manual describes a campaign worker as “any person who actively pursues the election of the ticket.”

Stricklin said he considers the former Gold/Harbin campaign’s official endorsement of the Ngo/Richardson ticket as evidence.

This endorsement was posted on the Gold/Harbin Facebook page as recent as yesterday.

Section V, titled “Campaigning Rules,” states if campaign workers violate any rules the candidates themselves are expected to follow, the ticket they support will “be subject to disciplinary actions… up to and including disqualification for that election.”

SG Vice Presidential candidate Patrick Richardson said the ticket filed appeals concerning both decisions yesterday and expect to learn the results by this afternoon.

If they win either appeal, the ticket will be considered active again, but a loss of both appeals will continue the current disqualified status.

Election Board Chair Aaron Dau said if the Ngo ticket fails to win their appeals, votes applied to the ticket will simply be “discredited.”

“It’s an awful thing when the student voice goes unheard, but there’s nothing [Election Board] can do,” Dau said. “It is the responsibility of each campaign to follow the guidelines of the manual.”

He said because the elections have been advertised for this week, there will not be a secondary election week held.

“I feel bad for the students who may be affected and I sympathize, but we can’t go back,” Dau said.

Per the ruling, the campaign cannot post or distribute any new material, including anything written, plastic or paper until the appeal process is finalized. However, any material that has already been posted may stay up.

The Ngo/Richardson ticket still has one more hearing to be held tonight at 9 p.m. over an alleged violation of regulations imposed at last week’s hearing. The decision was postponed after Election Board ruled they had insufficient evidence to continue with proceedings last night.

When found in violation of campaign rules, tickets are fined with “points” based on the severity of the rule violation. The more points accumulated by a campaign, the more regulations are placed on the ticket.

While the ticket had amassed 30 points last hearing, the most recent ruling was overturned at an appeal Monday afternoon and 5 points were removed.

However, yesterday’s addition of 40 points pushed the campaign to 65.

The Election Board manual dictates under section four that once a ticket has accumulated 60 points, “the campaign is disqualified from the election.”

Richardson said he was “beyond confident” his ticket will win their appeal.

“We will be victorious in our quest to improve the student experience here at the University of Toledo,” he said, “because we are by the students and for the students. Go Rockets.”

Stricklin said he is confident the ruling will stand and “the facts will remain the same.”

“As a student leader, the ability to be held accountable for your actions is key,” he said.

For those curious about the regulations, the Election Board manual is open and free to be viewed on the SG website under the ‘Documents’ section.

Students can access the ballots through the myUT Portal. Polls close today at 4 p.m.

—Vincent D. Scebbi contributed to this article.

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