The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday May 7th

Board of Elections member resigns after endorsing SBP candidate online

The student body presidential election season might have ended without conflict, but two days later, a violation led to the resignation of a member of the Board of Elections.

The new development will not affect the election results, said Adam Horowitz, speaker pro tempore of Student Congress.

Horowitz co-sponsored a bill to impeach board member Christopher Batchelder for publicly endorsing Will Leimenstoll.

Jared Simmons, finance committee chairman of Congress, filed the bill on Wednesday.

According to the bill, Batchelder posted a link on Tuesday on his Facebook page in support of Leimenstoll. The two are both in Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity, but Batchelder said they’re just acquaintances.

According to the Student Code, members of the board are required to remain impartial.

Batchelder resigned Thursday afternoon. He said though he doesn’t think he violated the Student Code, he didn’t want to go through the impeachment process.

“All I did was post a link,” Batchelder said.

He said he took the link off his Facebook later that day after being told to take it down.

Batchelder said he considers an endorsement physically going out and speaking with voters, not posting a link to his private Facebook.

“Realistically, I think (public endorsements) should be better defined.”

Horowitz said the bill will be dropped because he resigned.

“All I’m doing is enforcing the Student Code,” said Simmons, before the resignation was official.

He said he would be violating the rules by not reporting the violation once he became aware of it.

“This is not the (Board of Elections) as a whole; this is him as a member,” he said.

Horowitz said that Batchelder will most likely not be replaced, since the Board of Elections still has more than six members, which is the minimum membership.

Student Congress has not gone through the impeachment process in at least eight years, said Zach De La Rosa, speaker of Student Congress.

Simmons said he thinks the lack of impeachment processes is because people normally resign before the impeachment process begins, like Batchelder.

Horowitz said that even though the charges were dropped, this incident will be brought up again if Batchelder applies for another position in student government.

Shruthi Sundaram, chairwoman of the Board of Elections, declined to comment.

Batchelder said he still plans to stay active in student government.

“I’m happy it happened. It gave me good insight into how Congress operates,” he said.

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