Petition might void election

By Michael Berg

The Student Association might have to try a third time for executive elections or disband if the SA Supreme Court supports a petition that would nullify the election.

Five resolutions were brought before the SA Supreme Court Wednesday night, one which could void the executive elections.

The first petition said justice Jacqueline Koth should step down in decisions dealing with the election. Student Regent James Mertes, SA Minority Relations Adviser Nolan Hendreson and John McCarthy brought the motion forward. The petition said Koth allegedly worked on her roommate and presidential candidate Jodie English’s campaign and that the ruling on Maurice Thomas’ disqualification was made on unequal ground.

The court met at Koth’s apartment to decide an appeal made by Thomas. SA Supreme Court Chief Justice John Stack said the hearing was held at the apartment because Koth was ill.

The court found unanimously that Koth and all justices “will and can decide on these and all cases regarding SA elections in an impartial, fair and just manner.”

In the second petition, Nolen Hendreson said a poll worker at the Founders Memorial Library was telling voters Maurice Thomas was disqualified from the election “before the decision was justified or final.”

The supreme court put off ruling on this petition until Friday so the election committee could vote on whether this contention was true and if the election should be nullified.

The election commission met Wednesday night to decide on the issue. A heated debate occurred between Hendreson and SA Election Commissioner Lance Schart on the release time of Thomas’ disqualification.

Before the decision was made, Schart resigned his position in a letter due to “academic necessity.”

SA Public Relations Adviser Rebecca Bahr said according to SA bylaws, the elections committee is “only allowed to rule on sanctions against candidates.”

However, she said there is “factual basis for allegations raised.” Bahr said the supreme court now will rule on the petition.

Former SA presidential candidate Maurice Thomas presented a petition that stated he was singled out and treated unfairly, and that the sanction was not proportionate to the alleged violations. Thomas was disqualified from the elections for campaign violations.

The court ruled 3-1 that “both points were addressed in the decision handed down on March 26.”

The fourth petition dealt with the constitutionality of the SA election rule banning campaigning on Huskie buses. The petition states the rule is a violation of First Amendment rights of free speech. Mertes, who is the petitioner, said the law should be “more narrowly tailored.”

Students running for office should be allowed to campaign on buses if they don’t put passengers at risk, Mertes said.

The court put off ruling until Friday at 7 p.m. so they could obtain more information on the issue.

The final petition presented to the court sought a clarification to student bylaws and also was not ruled on.