By Madelin Shelton —
The SGA Supreme Court will soon announce the results of the election-related hearings surrounding the Top 4 elections. The Court’s decision, which has not been made public but has been obtained by The Louisville Cardinal, overturned the unofficial results for student body president and declared that the elections for executive vice president and academic vice president will move to run-off elections.
SGA elections originally took place March 7-9, but lawsuits filed claiming election violations against various candidates delayed the announcement of official results overseen by the SGA Supreme Court.
The unofficial results for the race of student body president had Dorian Brown in first place with 844 votes, Sydney Finley in second place with 791 votes and Afi Tagnedji in third place with 380 votes. The Court’s opinion in response to the hearings, and the coinciding subtraction of votes based on the merit of the election violations, changed the vote totals to the following: Finley with 670 votes, Brown with 421 votes and Tagnedji with 380 votes. This means that despite the original vote totals, Finley has been declared student body president-elect by the SGA Supreme Court.
For executive vice president, Katie Hayden finished first with 856 votes, Valerie Tran finished second with 497 votes, Paighton Brooks finished third with 460 votes and Makayla Streater finished fourth with 162 votes. The Court’s opinion changed these vote totals to Tran with 497 votes, Hayden with 441 votes, Brooks with 341 votes and Streater with 162 votes. No candidate in the executive vice president race achieved a plurality of 40 percent based on these new vote totals. Therefore, in accordance with Section 10.1.1 of the SGA Constitution, the race automatically must move forward to a run-off election between Tran and Hayden. The date, time and manner of run-off elections are for the SGA Supreme Court to decide.
The academic vice president race finished with Bryson Sebastian in first with 579 votes, Kendall Tubbs in second with 535 votes, Julia Mattingly in third with 521 votes and Lucas Threlfall in fourth place with 340 votes. With no candidate achieving a 40 percent plurality, the election for this position will also move to a run-off election between Sebastian and Tubbs.
Only the election for services vice president was won decisively, with Alex Reynolds finishing in first place with 1,052 votes and Ruby Young finishing in second place with 893 votes.
On March 21, plaintiffs Finley and Brooks, who ran together on a ticket, filed a violation notification form with the SGA Supreme Court alleging six election violations against Brown and Hayden, who also ran together on one ticket. In response to this lawsuit, Brown/Hayden countered with 15 alleged election violations committed by Finley/Brooks. The SGA Supreme Court then held private election-related hearings to evaluate the claims of both the plaintiffs and respondents. The only people present in the hearings were the Supreme Court justices, the plaintiffs and their counsel, the defendants and their counsel and witnesses.
The Court dismissed four out of six claims alleged by the Finley/Brooks campaign. According to the opinion issued by the court, “The Court has found that the Brown/Hayden slate violated SGAGER Chapter 203.3c seven times over the course of the campaign by posting seven different Instagram posts that included students with official positions within the University giving endorsements that must remain personal.”
SGAGER stands for SGA General Election Rules.
Endorsements from any university entity, department or affiliate are strictly prohibited for SGA candidates. Chapter 203.3 declares that SGA candidates are responsible for all online posts endorsing their candidacy, giving merit to this alleged claim in the Court’s eyes.
The Court dismissed 13 out of 15 counterclaims brought forth by the Brown/Hayden ticket. As for the remaining counterclaims brought forth by Brown/Hayden, “The Court finds that the Finley/Brooks campaign violated SGAGER Chapter 203.3b twice when two official University department Instagram pages engaged in supportive measures on the Finley/Brooks campaign Instagram account.”
In response, the Court implemented a 3 percent vote sanction per violation for both the plaintiffs and the respondents. SGAGER Chapter 602 allows the Court to “determine the form, manner, and severity of any sanction in its sole discretion.” For the Top 4 positions, this is conducted by subtracting from the total number of votes cast in the candidate’s race. The 3 percent number is not prescribed in the SGAGER but was decided upon by this Court in this specific lawsuit. “This percentage was deliberated on between the Justices as being a fair and equitable penalty,” the Court said in its opinion.
The Court’s decision resulted in a total of 423 votes deducted from Brown’s total and 415 votes from Hayden’s total. This sanction also reduced Finley’s vote total by 121 votes and Brooks’ vote total by 119 votes.
File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal