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Volume 69, Issue 106, Monday, March 9, 2004


Election officials drop sign complaint

Election Commission

By Geronimo Rodriguez
Senior Staff Writer

The Student Government Association Election Commission dropped UH 4 U presidential candidate Jon Quintanilla's complaint against the Student Voice party Friday, a decision that has pressed other parties to play "catch-up" in the campaign trail, Quintanilla said.

The ruling concerned a Student Voice campaign sign posted at the Moody Towers in an area the Election Commission had not approved.

Cougar Delegates presidential candidate Michael Graves said the ruling caused him to question the Election Commission.

"I think it shows weakness in the Election Commission," Graves -- also a College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences senator -- said. "I also think it's unfair because not everyone had access to those areas at the time."

Assistant Election Commissioner Jackie Thomas said Quintanilla had a valid complaint, "but the Student Voice banner was under the jurisdiction of the (Towers) area coordinator, and you can't penalize someone for doing something in an area you don't have any jurisdiction over."

Quintanilla said the decision makes it seem like the commission is handing over its powers to the area coordinators, adding that the Election Code gives the commission the power to regulate where signs can be posted.

Although Quintanilla said the ruling undermines other parties' efforts to maintain fair and honest campaigns, he said it prompted him to post a UH 4 U banner at the North Tower entrance, the same general location as the Student Voice sign. The commission and a Moody Towers area coordinator approved the sign, Quintanilla said.

"Now we'll just have to play catch-up," he said.

Cougar United presidential candidate Russell Payne said he has no problem with the decision.

"I'm just assuming (the Election Commission is) an impartial organization and that it made the right decision," Payne said.

Presidential candidates were notified of the decision via e-mail Friday. The ruling was also posted at the SGA office in the University Center Underground.

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