Four University of Michigan election commission cases were handled Sunday night in the Michigan Union regarding the recent Central Student Government election, with allegations of rule violations against various CSG parties. More than 10 additional cases are to be discussed in upcoming days.
The commission first conducted a hearing of CSG special prosecutor Reginald Grimes vs. the Serfdom USA party, in which the party pleaded guilty to not filing its official campaign finance report by the March 20 deadline.
Later, the commission discussed accusations made by MVision that aMplify had improperly harvested email addresses. CSG party aMplify allegedly sent a campaign email to a Delta Phi Epsilon sorority listserv that was not owned by a candidate or member of the party. MVision claimed the president of the sorority was acting on behalf of the aMplify party, which is prohibited according to the code of conduct.
The commission later handled allegations against the Defend Affirmative Action Party that U-M alum Kate Stenvig was involved in the campaign, which Grimes argued constituted acceptance of an in-kind contribution from a non-eligible voter. In addition to the various allegations, Grimes said appointing a non-student as the campaign manager is inherently contradictory to the nature of student government elections and does not embolden students to work within the DAAP campaign.
DAAP argued that at a public university, anyone can work as a campaign manager, especially a university alum who advocates for an otherwise underrepresented party on campus.
DAAP presidential candidate Lauren Kay, an LSA senior, expressed their party’s disappointment with the lack of support shown for the campaign’s objectives and said the commission unfairly targeted DAAP.
“They have selectively interpreted the supremacy clause they violated even in issuing demerits. They are obviously not applying it universally, but selectively. The idea that CSG should perfectly mimic what happens at the federal and state level, they themselves violate it within the election rules and the compiled code,” Kay said. “We represent and we’ve consistently advocated for certain policies that help people who are not only on this campus right now who are marginalized, but also people who don’t have the luxury of getting here.”
The commission also discussed MVision’s allegations against Engineering junior Michael Nwansi, the MomentUM Engineering representative candidate who was elected Friday. Nwansi was accused of influencing a student while voting, based on photo evidence of Nwansi sitting near a student while he was allegedly beginning the process of voting. The student who reported Nwansi was an MVision party member.
The commission deliberated the considerable doubt regarding what the content of the photo actually revealed, but due to a need to continue examination of provided evidence, later delayed the case until Monday night.
Whit Froehlich, a Medical School representative for MomentUM and assistant in the defense, explained the overall value of this process despite being unable to disclose specific information regarding the case.
“I do think that a lot of us care about the integrity of Central Student Government as an organization, so we feel that there is some value in ensuring that the elections code is not violated,” he said. “When it’s appropriate, and when we have the opportunity, we set precedent for future elections.”