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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Student Government

UPDATED: Candidate’s iPhone used as polling location


The Daily Cougar received firsthand knowledge of potential SGA election fraud Wednesday night — and the consequence may be disqualification.

Vice Presidential candidate Craig Premjee was seen using his iPhone as a polling location at the Den around approximately 7:45 p.m.

There were numerous witnesses, including Daily Cougar Opinion Editor Andrew Taylor, who saw the incident take place.

“Craig came up to us and asked, ‘Have you voted yet?’ I said no,” said economics senior Joeanthony Leyva. “He (Premjee) said, ‘If you want to vote right now, I’ve got it pulled up on my phone.’ So I signed in and I voted on his phone.”

The SGA election code prohibits this type of campaigning. Article 5, section 7, clause 1 defines a polling location as “a voting apparatus used by an individual other than the owner.”

Article 7, section 4, clause 1 — titled “Prohibited Methods of Campaigning” — states that candidates are prohibited from setting up any polling location, or interfering with a person using a voting apparatus in any way.

If this is found to be a violation, Article 10, section 1, clause 4 states three different penalties for election violations. A class three violation, which is the most serious, results in disqualification.

Premjee did not deny allowing people to vote on his phone. However, he did say that people asked to use his phone, not the other way around.

“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.

“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.”

When asked about the situation, Presidential candidate Michael Harding said that he was aware of what Premjee was doing.

“OK, yeah, I mean, that’s what’s up, you know? People are trying to vote. A lot of times when people hear that we’re running, they just want to vote right then and there. And I know Craig provides them with a computer resource,” Harding said.

“Personally I have yet to see Craig use his phone to let people vote, but he has informed me that that has happened.”

For a full copy of the SGA election code, visit http://sga.uh.edu/index.php/election-center.html.

UPDATE: Harding has been prohibited from campaigning for 24 hours as of Thursday morning. An official written complaint has been filed with the elections commission and is currently being reviewed. More information will be added as it becomes available. For the latest news on this story and others, follow The Daily Cougar on Twitter at @thedailycougar.

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