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Thursday February 2nd

UNC Board of Elections holds three hearings in SBP elections

<p>The Board of Elections held three hearings on Sunday &mdash; one against the Joe Nail campaign and two against the Matthew McKnight campaign.&nbsp;</p>
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The Board of Elections held three hearings on Sunday — one against the Joe Nail campaign and two against the Matthew McKnight campaign. 

The BOE has 48 hours after the hearings to render a decision on each hearing.

Shriver v. Nail

The BOE heard the case against the Joe for SBP Campaign for the second time after the first hearing was ruled invalid by the UNC Student Supreme Court.

Sophomore Katharine Shriver filed the complaint against the campaign. Ben Albert, a junior, was Shriver’s counsel at the hearing. Harry Edwards, a member of the Joe for SBP campaign, represented the campaign as the defendant.

The complaint against the Joe for SBP campaign included six allegations — two false start violations, two technology violations, one location violation and one falsification violation. The location violation was dropped.

Albert said one false start and technology violation are about the Nail campaign estimating they sent 863 emails before the official start of campaigning, which Edwards admitted to. Edwards said once the Nail campaign discovered the error, they took immediate steps to fix it and self-reported what happened to the Board of Elections.

“It was a complete mistake that these emails got sent out,” Edwards said.

Albert said the emails might make the recipients more likely to vote for Nail because they learned about that candidate first. Edwards said more damage was done to the Nail campaign because it makes them look incompetent.

“This is not something the Nail campaign is happy about,” Edwards said.

The other false start and technology violation related to Garima Tomar, a member of the Nail campaign, sending a campaign message to a member of a private Nail campaign Facebook group. In the conversation, the member said he was not supposed to be in the group, as he supported another candidate.

Albert said the falsification charge regards emails between Tomar and BOE Chairperson Paul Kushner. Edwards said the intent of the Nail campaign was not to misrepresent information.

Edwards v. McKnight

When she was a member of the Matthew McKnight for SBP Campaign, Shriver filed a complaint against the Joe for SBP campaign and failed to identify herself as a member of McKnight’s campaign. In the complaint, she said she believed it was her duty as ethics chairperson of Student Congress to do so.

“The campaign drafted the complaint, but it was Ms. Shriver who volunteered to file the complaint herself, because again, she thought it was her duty as ethics committee chairperson to file the complaint herself,” McKnight said.

McKnight said Shriver filed the complaint on behalf of him and two other campaigns who felt they were unfairly disadvantaged by Nail’s campaign.

Edwards argued Shriver identified herself as ethics committee chairperson to give the complaint more authority and damage Nail’s public image more. He said he thinks Shriver is guilty of harmful and malicious behavior, but at the very least, should be found guilty of falsification.

“What I don’t think anyone should be okay with is a deliberate and effective attempt to obscure where these allegations were coming from,” he said.

Edwards said The Daily Tar Heel reported that Shriver was ethics chairperson, and not a member of McKnight’s campaign, because that was how she presented herself in the complaint.

“I think that more than 50 percent of students who vote on election day will have read the DTH coverage,” Edwards said.

McKnight said although thousands read the article, there is no way of knowing if Shriver’s position as ethics chairperson influenced their impression of Nail. He said Nail’s reputation had been damaged by being disqualified as a candidate.

Edwards said Shriver wanted the allegations to appear like they were coming from an independent moral observer and not a partisan group.

“Ask yourself why one description — ethics chair — was more relevant than the other description — that she was a member of an opposing campaign team, doing this on behalf of an opposing campaign team,” Edwards said.

Second complaint

Edwards filed the second complaint against the McKnight campaign. This complaint is similar to the first complaint, but says the McKnight campaign is responsible for knowingly submitting a false complaint — when Shriver resubmitted her complaint on Feb. 16.

Submitted for evidence was a text message from McKnight to Nail saying that he will be filing a complaint against him, the initial email from the Nail campaign that was used in the case of Shriver’s initial complaint, and the Nail campaign’s response to Shriver’s complaint.

Edwards argued that the McKnight for SBP campaign should be held culpable for the false complaint that Shriver filed as she was a member of the campaign at the time and was working on behalf of the campaign, not as ethics chairperson.

The original Nail v. Shriver complaint was filed as a second time removing the ethics chairperson title form Shriver’s name.

“It’s almost irrelevant whether she was a campaign member or not … we have evidence of her making an incredibly false allegation,” Edwards said, referring to Shriver’s initial complaint.

McKnight denied any knowledge of the complaint and said that she was acting without his knowledge and not as a member of his campaign, but as a UNC student.

“I had no knowledge of it being submitted, this is not a campaign violation for us. It is now outside of the BOE jurisdiction to assign the campaign violation to a campaign that did not have anything to do with this violation,” McKnight said.

university@dailytarheel.com

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