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Candidate disqualifications mar opening days of WSUSA elections

Less than 36 hours into this year’s Weber State University Student Association executive officer elections, controversy had already erupted over two races.

On Monday afternoon, the WSUSA elections committee announced that four candidates had been disqualified due to their failure to submit their spending limit forms before the required deadline.

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Service Vice President candidate Morgan Gardiner (blue T-shirt) sits in on a meeting discussing a complication with the 2016-2017 Service Vice President candidates. (Christina Huerta/The Signpost) Photo credit: Christina Huerta

“We did not receive spending limit forms from the four candidates,” said WSUSA Legislative Election Chair Juhi Dubal. “According to the bylaws in the elections packet, they’re subject to automatic disqualification, so that is the decision the committee had made.”

Services Vice President candidate Morgan Gardiner said that she didn’t submit the form on time because it had slipped her mind.

“It was kind of crazy, at first I thought I was the only one and I had a panic attack,” Gardiner said. “I couldn’t believe it because I was told the date and the time that it was due, and there were so many things going on in my head that I simply forgot. I had all of my forms ready to submit and I just didn’t submit them in time.”

All three candidates running for Services Vice President—Kasey Call, Gardiner and Hannah Smith—and Davis Campus Vice President candidate Jesus Garcia were informed on Tuesday that despite being disqualified, they would be allowed to still run for the positions as write-in candidates.

“There was some question as to whether disqualified candidates could run as a write-in (candidate) or not,” said WSUSA Elections Committee Executive co-Chair Sarah Dosier. “It was decided by staff who oversee the student body and also elections that disqualified candidates could still run as write-in candidates. That means that their names are no longer on the form that people can fill out, but they can still write in their names.”

Gardiner said that she was relieved to find out that she would still be allowed to run as a write-in candidate.

“We all lucked out because now we have a second chance. We didn’t think that we would,”Gardiner said. “We didn’t even know if we could appeal it or if we could go as write-in candidates, but they told us today at 10 that we could officially run as a write-in candidate, but all votes prior to 10 this morning were invalid.”

The WSUSA elections committee met in a closed-door meeting on Tuesday afternoon, where they discussed over the course of two hours what to do about the votes that had been cast prior to 10 a.m. Tuesday. Before Tuesday’s meeting, the committee ruled that all votes submitted before 10 a.m. Tuesday would not be counted.

“We’re all trying to win back the votes prior to when we were told we were disqualified because we feel those are ours and those are fair,” Gardiner said. “Then the penalty of not submitting this form will be losing the votes between when we were disqualified to 10 a.m. today. And then the rest will be write-ins that will add on to the previous votes.”

At the time of publication, Dubal declined to comment on decisions made during Tuesday’s meeting, citing that candidates had not yet been informed of those decisions.

This article has been edited from the version that was published on March 16.

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