Candidate disqualified

By Megan Knowles

One of the candidates for Student Association president was disqualified from the race, but delayed the ballot counting by taking his case to the SA Supreme Court.

SA Election Commissioner Lance Schart informed candidate Maurice Thomas at 10:40 a.m. Wednesday of his disqualification from the election. Schart said Thomas violated SA bylaw article IV, section H, subsection 5, item C, which forbids campaigning on any Huskie Bus during the election.

Schart was informed of Thomas’ illegal campaigning by anonymous sources. He was told Thomas said “the SA elections are today. My name is Maurice Thomas, and I encourage you to vote.”

This was Thomas’ fourth violation of campaign rules. He was informed by Schart after his third violation that any more would disqualify him.

Thomas filed a petition later Wednesday to contest the election commissioner’s decision. The matter was brought before the SA Supreme Court, which is comprised of Chief Justice John Stack, Waldemar Wyszynski, Jacqueline Koth and Matthew Wetstein. The fifth justice, Hillary Finne, is no longer an NIU student.

The court deadlocked 2-2 Wednesday night. The justices will meet today at 12:30 p.m. in a closed session to hear more oral arguments.

“The ballots will remain locked, and in safe keeping,” Wetstein said. Stack will keep the keys to the box and the ballots will be impounded until the court reaches a decision.

“We have four justices and it’s difficult for us to reach a decision that is not split. So we’re not going to reach a decision until we can get past that 50-50 split,” Wetstein said.

Schart said the decision of the court is final and he has no plans at this time to change his decision. “Maurice (Thomas) has decided to appeal and is well within his rights to do so,” Schart said.

Thomas said he is disappointed with Schart’s decision. “What happened is due to violations which my staff members and myself did not commit.”