Though they might face punishment by the Board of Elections for illegal campaigning, Student Body Secretary Ian Lee and junior Rick Ingram aren’t worried, they said.
The board can levy fines or increases in the number of signatures they would be required to collect to become certified student body president candidates. But both possibilities would only be enforced if Lee or Ingram choose to run.
“I’m really not concerned with it,” Lee said. “I’m glad to see that the Board of Elections is taking their role seriously and is going to investigate.”
The board voted in a meeting Wednesday night to move forward with separate investigations into allegations that Ingram and Lee have been inappropriately campaigning for student body president.
The board could fine them any amount of money or increase the number of signatures they have to gather to appear on the ballot by as much as 25 percent, said Andrew Phillips, chairman of the board.
Ingram said he is not concerned about the possible fine or signature increase.
“I honestly think it’s irrelevant because I am very confident that I’ll be found to be in no violation of the Student Code,” Ingram said.
Ingram filed a complaint on Sunday that accused Lee of campaigning for student body president. Title VI, Article IV, Section 408 of the Student Code prohibits the student body secretary, along with other select members of the executive branch, from participating in campaigns for positions in student government.
Members of the board decided to investigate the claim Wednesday night, and subsequently decided to investigate Ingram for reasons unrelated to the original complaint.
Phillips said a member of the board received an e-mail from someone describing himself as one of Ingram’s campaign managers. The e-mail asked if the person wanted to serve on Ingram’s campaign. Because it was not personally addressed to a specific member of the board, the e-mail could be classified as public campaigning, which is prohibited until candidates receive certification in January, Phillips said.
“It was a ‘hey, you’ not a ‘hey, John Smith,’” Phillips said. “It was a general e-mail.”
Phillips said he thinks a signature increase could pose a challenge for Ingram or Lee if they choose to run. The number of signatures required by candidates increased from 1,000 to 1,250 earlier this year.
“A signature increase is more than just a slap on the wrist,” he said.
Phillips said Ingram and Lee have been asked to provide and respond to evidence presented, adding that he hopes a final decision will be reached by the end of next week.
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