Prospective SA senator taken off ballot after intimidation claims

By Felix Sarver

The Student Association Board of Elections disqualified a candidate from the senate race Tuesday, the first day of elections.

District 4 Candidate David Turner was intimidating a voter and campaigning within the direct vicinity of a polling station at DuSable Hall, said Election Commissioner Robert Lausch. This violates Article 8, Section 9 of the SA Bylaws.

“We felt the violation was strong enough to expel him from the race,” said Kyle Bak, Board of Elections chairman.

Allegedly, Turner pointed out his name on the ballot to a voter, asked the voter if he wanted to vote for him and then kept his finger on the ballot in an intimidating manner until the voter marked Turner’s name, Lausch said.

The voter said he saw Turner telling other people to vote for him as well, Lausch said.

The voter informed the SA office of the situation in the early afternoon, Lausch said. The SA did not disclose the voter’s name.

When questioned, election judges in DuSable told Lausch that Turner was there. The judges told Turner not to campaign, Lausch said.

The judges said Turner asked them if he could tell other people to vote for him.

“He did ask first if it was okay and we said no,” said election judge Patricia Tyrrell. “He did it anyways.”

The judges said he was talking with students behind them.

Turner did not appear at the Board of Elections hearing about the violation. Turner said he plans to appeal to the SA Supreme Court.

Lausch notified Turner of the violation in the mid-afternoon. The SA Board of Elections reviewed the allegations in the early evening and decided to remove him from the ballot.

“He didn’t outright deny it with me,” Lausch said. “The second I told him the allegations he started asking me on how to appeal it.”

Turner said he did not know he was charged with intimidating voters.

“That’s ridiculous,” Turner said. “If anything, letting people know my name was on the ballot should have gotten me in trouble.”

Turner said he was asked by freshmen who to vote for. After giving them some names, Turner said the freshmen recognized his name on the ballot and asked if it was him running; he confirmed.

“We have not had problems with voter intimidation before,” said Senate Speaker Austin Quick. “I don’t feel it is ever appropriate in a democratic system to intimidate voters.”