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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Staff Editorial

Judicial branch tries, fails to serve fair ruling

A landmark moment in SGA history happened late Thursday night. The judicial branch, in its inaugural hearing, found presidential candidate Michael Harding and vice presidential candidate Craig Premjee guilty of setting up an illegal polling location with a 3-2 vote. However, the second verdict — reached by a unanimous vote — found the 24-hour campaigning ban given by the election commission a sufficient punishment.

The ruling treats only symptoms, not the problem. The problem here is not that an illegal polling location was used — the problem is the candidates displayed a lack of character that is simply not acceptable from people who are supposed to be representing the entire student body. The candidates were clear frontrunners in the runoff election, yet they violated election codes anyway.

One of the main reasons why the election commission ruled so harshly was that Premjee had stated he had a clear knowledge of election codes before the campaigning began, according to testimony given by Chief Election Commissioner Katie Kornahrens. Premjee’s statement to The Daily Cougar on Wednesday night stated that as well.

“Whenever someone asks me if they can use my phone to vote, I’m not going to say, ‘No, you can’t use my phone.’ I’m just going to give them my phone and walk away. I think that’s perfectly fine,” Premjee said in Wednesday’s interview.

“It may be explicitly stated like that in the election code, but when it comes down to it, an iPhone is just an electronic device that’s able to do these things.”

Harding said that while his interview was truthful, he was intoxicated when his statement was given. When asked under oath if he had lied in the interview given to The Daily Cougar, he replied it was all true.

It’s unclear why the judges overturned the commission’s decision; that will come when the official written statement is made available. What is clear, though, is our SGA candidates need to act in a manner that befits a public figure. There is no excuse for running a dirty campaign — especially not at the college level.

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