AAS Election Complaint Dismissed
Issue   |   Wed, 04/16/2014 - 01:14

Six days after a complaint about campaign expenditures forced the Association of Amherst Students to delay the release of executive board election results, the Judiciary Council has voted to dismiss the complaint and uphold the results of last Tuesday’s runoff election. Amani Ahmed ’15 has been elected president, and Juan Gabriel Delgado Montes ’16 has been elected vice president for the 2014-15 academic year.

Students voted to elect a president and vice president on Tuesday, April 8 in a runoff between the top two candidates for each office. The AAS Elections Committee had originally planned to announce the results at midnight on Thursday, but a complaint filed at 11:50 p.m. on Wednesday forced the committee to postpone the announcement until after the Judiciary Council could determine the complaint’s validity.

The complaint affected presidential candidates Ahmed and Peter Crane ’15 as well as vice presidential candidates Delgado Montes and Ellie Andersen ’15.

The complainants, Pierre Joseph ’15 and Joshua Ferrer ’17, asked the Judiciary Council to determine whether any of the candidates in the runoff had exceeded the spending limits for their campaigns.

“According to the constitution, for executive board elections each candidate is allowed 30 dollars for the initial round of voting, and for the runoff they’re granted another 15,” said Joseph Kim ’14, the acting Judiciary Council chair.

Kim was selected to lead the Judiciary Council after Judiciary Council Tomi Williams ’16 recuse himself from the committee because he had been a candidate for AAS president in the first round of elections. Three other Judiciary Council members recused themselves from the committee because they had publicly endorsed candidates involved in the complaint.

On Friday, April 11, Kim and the other five acting members of the Judiciary Council decided to delay the results until the candidates involved could display proof of their campaign expenditures.

“Due to the size and amount of posters displayed during the campaign leading up to the runoff election, the JC unanimously deemed the complaint to be valid,” Kim said in an email to the student body.

Two days later, the four candidates presented evidence of their campaign expenses at an open hearing in Morris Pratt Ballroom. All four candidates said that they had not exceeded the allotted spending limit.

Lindon Chen ’15, Ahmed’s campaign manager, explained during the hearing that some students had speculated that Ahmed had exceeded the limit because one of the posters used to advertise her campaign was particularly large. However, Ahmed reported that she spent a total $39.40 on her campaign, more than 5 dollars under the limit.

Ahmed later told the Judiciary Council that although she had originally spent more than $45 printing posters for her campaign, she reported only $39.40 because she never used some of the posters she printed.

At the hearing, Crane reported $31.60 in total expenditures, Andersen reported $7.80 and Delgado Montes reported $24.83.

After briefly questioning the candidates, the Judiciary Council adjourned the hearing with a promise to deliberate on the complaint by Monday night. Although the hearing was held on Sunday, the committee did not make a decision until Monday, because candidates had been given until Monday at noon to submit the final report of their expenditures.

Ultimately, the committee decided that the results of the runoff were valid and could be released.

“We voted three in favor, one opposed and one abstaining to dismiss the complaint,” Kim said in an interview on Tuesday afternoon. “That means that all four candidates were in compliance with the constitution as we interpreted it.”

The Elections Committee announced the results in an email to the student body on Tuesday night.

The Elections Committee has also announced that AAS Senate and Judiciary Council elections will be pushed back until Tuesday, April 22. Although the elections were originally scheduled for this Thursday, the Judiciary Council and Elections Committee decided to postpone the elections in light of the complaint.

“If a candidate loses the runoff and decides to run for Senate, or if they haven’t had proper time to publicize and gauge student interest, then they would have the time to adequately prepare,” Kim said of the decision to push back the next round of elections.

Speech Night for the Senate and Judiciary Council elections will be held at 6:30 p.m. this Sunday, April 20.

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated Peter Crane's total campaign expenditures. His total spending was $31.60, not $17.30. The $17.30 figure represents only his spending for the first round of elections, and does not take into account his spending for the runoff election, which was $14.30.

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Wed, 04/16/2014 - 08:52

Great Job! Congrats to All!!

Pierre Joseph (not verified) says:
Wed, 04/16/2014 - 11:47

Hey Sophie,

If you cite my name in an article, you might want to ask for a quote, or at least provide advanced notice.

I sent you a longer message on FB. Check it out when you get a minute.