United Party not guilty of illegal campaigning

Cameron Garrett

Student Government’s Supreme Court met to discuss possible illegal campaigning on March 12. Photo by Cameron Garrett
Student Government’s Supreme Court held a hearing concerning possible illegal campaigning on March 12.
Photo by Jack Drain

The United Party was found not guilty of illegal campaigning by Student Government’s (SG) Supreme Court on March 12.

The party was accused of violating the election’s policies and procedures after its campaigning flyers were found in a non-campaigning zone, the free print lab in the Student Union.

The flyers were found by Collin Waychoff, SG Chief of Staff and Red Party chair, on March 4. Waychoff subsequently reported the United Party’s perceived infraction to Elections Commissioner Brad Johnson who then filed the judicial complaint.

At the hearing, Johnson’s complaint was represented by Dana Baker, SG’s newly-appointed Attorney General. Baker said the presence of the United Party’s flyers in a non-campaigning area threatened the integrity of the elections process.

“Integrity within our election process is vital and by not holding candidates responsible, integrity can be lost,” Baker said.

The United Party was represented by its Vice Presidential Candidate Hailey Guerra. Photo by Cameron Garrett
The United Party was represented by its Vice Presidential Candidate Hailey Guerra.
Photo by Jack Drain

The United Party was represented by its Vice Presidential Candidate Hailey Guerra. Guerra maintained that no representatives of the United Party placed the flyers in the free-print lab and all representatives were instructed of the election’s policies and procedures. She also said the morning the flyers were placed in the print lab, the United Party was outside the Student Union handing out flyers.

“Once flyers were in the hands of students, we had no oversight over where students placed them,” Guerra said.

Both Johnson and Waychoff served as witnesses during the hearing.

Guerra asked Johnson if it would have been possible that a student left the flyers. Johnson said that “it absolutely would have.”

United Party’s Public Relations Chair Cody Quattlebaum asks if a student might have put the flyer in the free print lab. Photo by Cameron Garrett
Quattlebaum asks if a student might have put the flyer in the free print lab.
Photo by Jack Drain

Guerra’s co-council, United Party’s Public Relations Chair Cody Quattlebaum, also asked Waychoff if it were possible that a student left the flyers. Waychoff said that it was.

However, Baker responded that the United Party is liable for all of its campaigning materials during the campaign, according to the election’s policies and procedures.

“They hold the responsibility of those campaign materials regardless of where they are,” Baker said.

In her conclusion, Guerra said it is impossible for candidates to monitor their campaign materials once they’ve been placed in the hands of students.

“The party cannot be held responsible for the placement of the flyers as we do not have the ability to regulate the property of other students, which these flyers became once given out,” Guerra said.

The court found the United Party not in violation of illegally campaigning. Photo by Cameron Garrett
The court found the United Party not in violation of illegally campaigning.
Photo by Jack Drain

During the justices’ deliberation period, Waychoff was summoned into Chief Justice Benjamin Jaeger’s office.

The court unanimously found the United Party not in violation of illegally campaigning. Jaeger said the decision was made because the identity of whoever placed the flyers in the free print lab cannot be known.

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