Elections Board overturns violations ruling on independent campaign

And another independent senator is filing an appeal


Courtesy of John Dodd

Photo courtesy of John Dodd

Kayla Solino, Contributing Writer

Student Government Association (SGA) Senate candidate John Dodd has been challenging two violations from the Elections Board, which he claimed were a target to his anti-Machine campaign platform. The Elections Board overturned its previous ruling on an endorsement violation and dismissed a second one about masks and social distancing, as it was beyond its jurisdiction. 

The Elections Board called for revisions to the endorsements policy in the Elections Manual, which was the basis of the violation complaint against Dodd. The SGA Student Judiciary, led by Chief Justice Grace Meagher, will lead an investigation of the SGA Elections Board.

Dodd’s campaign manager, Jack Kappelman, said he believes the decision is important to election culture at the University. 

“It supported every single argument we made and unilaterally rules that the Elections Board can’t just make up rules as a means of suppressing independent candidates,” he said.  

Kappelman said he is hopeful the Elections Board will reassess its role in maintaining and upholding a fair elections process, and that he is glad the Dodd campaign team has been found innocent of the violations contested. 

The Elections Board said the violations process they followed comes directly from the Elections Manual, which ensures “honest, fair, open elections for all who are involved.” 

“The elections process is held to the highest standard of integrity and fairness, as demonstrated by the outcome of the alleged violations against Dodd,” the Elections Board said. 

Dodd received two of the 17 violation complaints filed during this election cycle. The Elections Board has not supplied a complete list of violations reports. 

The Elections Board said they believe Dodd’s violations process had been equitable, and that the overturning of his first violation appeal and the dismissal of the second was proof. 

“I’m feeling relieved, but not satisfied until after Election Day,” Dodd said. “This will serve as a lesson that [the Election Board is] not a higher power.” 

College of Communication & Information Sciences senate candidate Malea Benjamin, another independent candidate who Dodd suspected was also being targeted for the same reasons, confirmed that she will be appealing campaign violations.

Read the original story below: 

‘Just doesn’t make sense’: Independent senate candidate alleges targeting from Elections Board