SGA judiciary delays confirmation of new president due to ongoing appeal process


CW / Caroline Simmons

Presidential candidates Sarah Shield and Madeline Martin debate on Sunday, March 6, 2022.

The Student Government Association Judicial Board has postponed the confirmation of presidential election results until after spring break because of the ongoing appeal process for a complaint against candidate Madeline Martin. 

Matthew Curl, chief justice of the Judicial Board, imposed an injunction on the confirmation of official presidential election results until the board meets on March 23 — over two weeks after election day. 

Unofficial results will still be posted by 11:59 p.m. on election day, March 8, per the Elections Manual. 

The Judicial Board declined to prevent the release of unofficial election results, citing its lack of authority to do so, but did postpone confirmation of the vote until after the original appeal could be resolved. 

“I think it’s great that the Judicial Board is recognizing the potential of the case that they have in front of them and taking the proper actions to ensure that election results end up in the way they should,” presidential candidate Sarah Shield said.

Garrett Burnett, Shield’s campaign manager, initially reported a violation on Feb. 27, against Martin for exceeding the $750 campaign spending limit. A receipt from Office Depot showed a $969.38 purchase in Martin’s name for 100 spiral-bound notebooks, with a cover page titled “Madeline Martin SGA President.” 

Martin did not report the expense on the mandatory financial disclosure forms and denied they were campaign materials. 

The Elections Manual defines campaign materials as “paraphernalia bearing the name, logo, mark, or likeness of a candidate, including but not limited to flyers, literature, pamphlets, buttons, clothing, table tents, advertisements and electronic communication.” 

After the Elections Board dismissed the complaint against Martin, Burnett filed an appeal to the Judicial Board against herMartin on March 6 in response to his complaint that Martin overspent. 

Burnett then filed a second appeal to the Judicial Board on March 8, to prevent the release of unofficial results. 

“I think the underlying issues of this appeal are more important to elections going forward,” Shield said. “I think it’s really important that the student body gets a decision on how much money candidates are allowed to spend.”

Burnett said in his appeal that the release of unofficial results could potentially bias the Elections Board or the judicial panel’s decisions on Martin’s campaign. 

“For example, the likelihood of Ms. Martin being found responsible for any violations after the release of unofficial results indicating that she has won the presidency is very unlikely.”

Martin declined to comment until the appeal process has concluded. Curl did not respond to multiple requests for comment.