By Madelin Shelton —
The SGA Supreme Court has handed down a new decision relating to the controversy surrounding this year’s SGA elections. The opinion declares that the election for student body president will move to a run-off.
The decision read in part, “Upon deliberation and consideration of the Petition, the Court stands with this prior decision and will not reverse/reduce/reconsider/etc the sanctions delivered. However, the Court recognizes the unprecedented waters in which this suit has transfigured. We hear the convictions of the Student Body and acknowledge their frustrations. Taking all things into consideration, the Court is allowing a run-off election for Student Body President to take place (alongside the EVP and AVP run-offs that have been postponed). This run-off election will be limited to Dorian Brown and Sydney Finley.”
This opinion was handed down in response to a Petition to Reconsider filed by the Brown/Hayden ticket. The petition asked the Court to throw out its controversial April 8 decision that overturned the results for the student body president election and declared that the race for executive vice president would move to a run-off. The petition alleged several claims that the Supreme Court acted inappropriately during the election-related hearings, resulting in an unfair process for Brown/Hayden. SGA Supreme Court Chief Justice Jacquelyn Gesser was involved in the original decision as a non-voting member, but recused herself following the filing of the Petition to Reconsider.
For student body president, the unofficial results originally had Dorian Brown in first with 844 votes, Sydney Finley in second with 791 votes and Afi Tagnedji in third with 380 votes. The unofficial results for executive vice president has Katie Hayden in first with 856 votes, Valerie Tran in second with 497 votes, Paighton Brooks in third with 460 votes and Makayla Streater in fourth with 162 votes.
Following an election lawsuit filed by the Finley/Brooks ticket against the Brown/Hayden ticket and election-related hearings held by the SGA Supreme Court, the Court’s April 8 decision resulted in election violation sanctions against both parties in the suit. The Court’s sanctions included a three percent deduction in each candidate’s original vote total for every alleged violation of the SGA General Election Rules (SGAGER). These sanctions resulted in Brown’s vote total being reduced to 421 votes and Finley’s to 670, declaring Finley the next student body president-elect.
For executive vice president, the sanctions against Hayden reduced her original vote total to 441 votes and Brooks’ to 341. Tran and Streater’s vote totals remained unchanged, placing Tran in first with 497. However, the new vote totals resulted in no candidate achieving the required 40 percent voting plurality as required by the SGAGER. This automatically moved the race to a run-off election between the top two vote getters, Hayden and Tran. The Court’s newest opinion leaves the status of this election unchanged.
Finley and Liam Gallagher, a sophomore political science student who acted as the counsel for Brown/Hayden during the election hearings, did not respond to a request for comment about the Court’s latest decision.
File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal