Elections Board announces SGA president is not disqualified the day after inauguration

Madeline Martin was sworn in as the Student Government Association president on Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesday morning, the Elections Board published the results of their hearing, in which they unanimously voted to not disqualify Martin.

The Judicial Board’s ruling required that the Elections Board reach a verdict on Martin’s alleged violations by Monday at noon. The board met the deadline, but did not publish their ruling until after the inauguration.

Martin’s potential disqualification

Martin was named the unofficial president-elect following the March 8 election, but the SGA Judicial Board postponed her confirmation — which would have happened three days after the election — until it could hear an appeal filed against her campaign.

Presidential candidate Sarah Shields’ campaign team filed the initial complaint against Martin for spending $969.38 on notebooks that detailed her campaign platform before campaigning began — which is considered a “major violation” per the Elections Manual.

Martin’s purchase also exceeded the $750 spending limit for presidential campaigns.

The Elections Board dismissed the original complaint against the Martin campaign on March 7, citing insufficient evidence.

In an email to The Crimson White, the Elections Board said the Elections Manual is ambiguous surrounding purchasing campaign materials ahead of the campaign period and recommended clarifications for the next election cycle.

After the Elections Board’s dismissal, Shield’s campaign manager, Garrett Burnett, appealed the decision to the Judicial Board.

The Judicial Board overruled the Elections Board’s original three-point minor infraction given to Martin’s campaign for exceeding the spending limit and replaced it with an intermediate violation. The Judicial Board also upgraded a minor violation for failure to report expenses to an intermediate one.

The Judicial Board ruled that Martin was eligible for disqualification due to the acquisition of 12 infraction points and declared that the notebooks were campaign materials.

The Elections Board was required to reach a final decision by Monday at noon. The board met Sunday night via Zoom and announced its decision in a statement on Wednesday.

“Having reviewed Opinion 22-005, the Elections Board does not support the findings of the Judicial Board based on the evidence provided in the various Appeal,” the Elections Board wrote. “Predicated on the discretion afforded to the Elections Board by the Elections Board Manual, the Elections Board retains the right to determine whether conduct violates the Elections Board Manual as well as the tier in which an alleged violation might fall.”

The board voted unanimously to not disqualify Martin and to confirm the election results.


Members of the Executive Council, the Senate and the Student Judiciary were sworn into office for the upcoming academic year at Tuesday’s inauguration.

SGA adviser Angel Narvaez-Lugo notified Martin of the Elections Board’s ruling ahead of the inauguration.

In Martin’s first speech as SGA president, she did not address the results of the hearing. The board had not published its ruling, and she “thought it was best that communication about the official statement come from them.”

“It was definitely on my mind and important,” Martin said. “But again, I didn’t want to overstep, because that wasn’t my role.”

Martin instead focused her speech on the SGA being an organization of “students serving students.”

“I do stand by any preparation or expenditures or any purchases prior to my declaration of candidacy,” Martin said. “They weren’t used in any form of actual campaigning. And like I said before, it’s my constitutional right to meet with friends and advisers to discuss my best path at UA. But regardless of everything, I’m beyond honored and thrilled to serve as the 111th SGA president.”

Keely Brewer contributed to the reporting of this story.

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