USG election suit decisions favor Bishop ticket

The Associated Students of ASU Supreme Court issued decisions on five pending cases from this year's Tempe USG election

The decisions, which were released between April 12 and 20, dealt with complaints levied by the Aundrea DeGravina ticket, and the President-elect Brandon Bishop's ticket against Elections Commissioner Brian Ruben. 

For each suit, the DeGravina ticket requested an open hearing for both tickets to make their case to the ASASU Supreme Court, DeGravina's vice president of services candidate Alexander Arena said. Each request for such a hearing was denied. 

All of the Supreme Court decisions ruled against the DeGravina ticket — in favor of the Bishop ticket. 

Plagiarism accusation

The DeGravina ticket accused the Bishop ticket of committing plagiarism when a similar Facebook profile photo filter surfaced for both campaigns. 

According to a Facebook post by the original code's designer, the coding for the application behind the filter had been stolen.

However, the Supreme Court ruled that plagiarism is not within its purview, and any complaints of such an instance should be brought to the Arizona Board of Regents, rather than ASU student government. 

Runoff election complaint

The DeGravina ticket issued a complaint petitioning for a recount after the Tempe USG runoff election

The USG elections code states that a "majority of 50 percent, plus one" is needed to win an election, and Arena said that statement means the total 51 percent of the vote. 

The Bishop ticket received 50.7 percent of the votes.

However, the Supreme Court ruled against the DeGravina ticket, ultimately deciding that the elections code allows for a victory to be made up of 50 percent of the vote plus one additional vote.

Unreported spending

The Supreme Court dismissed a petition from Arena regarding an allegation of unreported spending by the Bishop ticket.

The spending in question stemmed from Instagram advertisements purchased by the Bishop ticket. 

Bishop said his ticket bought advertisements on Facebook, which owns Instagram. The plan on Facebook added advertisements on Instagram, but the Bishop ticket only had an invoice from Facebook, since the purchase was made entirely through Facebook.

Arena alleged that the Bishop ticket did not report all of their expenditures appropriately since there was not a separate Instagram invoice.

However, the Bishop ticket was able to provide the original invoice, and demonstrate that both purchases had been reported, Bishop said. 

Campaign complaint ignored

The Supreme Court also decided to uphold the Elections Commission's action of ignoring a complaint response issued by Arena during campaigning. 

Candidates have 48 hours to respond to a complaint leveled at them during the election season. Arena filed the response in question after the 48 hour deadline, meaning it was thrown out, according to the Supreme Court decision. 

Allegation of door-to-door campaigning

The Elections Commission had previously assessed points on Bishop's campaign for participating in door-to-door campaigning, which is against the USG elections code. 

The Bishop ticket responded to that ruling, and said no one on their ticket participated in the solicitation.

Ultimately, the Supreme Court sided with the Bishop ticket, and no points will be added to their campaign, according to the decision. 

Bishop said he was relieved to have the entire matter behind him.

"I was extremely relieved," Bishop said. "I spent the last two weeks in meetings, like slightly on edge, a little nervous every day."

On the other hand, Arena expressed frustration with not only the ASASU Supreme Court, but the entire student government system. 

"I cannot recommend, in good conscience, that anybody who's not currently involved in USG runs for USG ... executive office," Arena said.

Related links:

Downtown rooftop pool might get a food bar, thanks to USG

Polytechnic students, get to know your 2016-17 executives


Reach the reporter at jwbowlin@asu.edu or follow @mrjoshuabowling on Twitter.

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