The results of Metro’s 2012 general elections are in question after a presidential and vice presidential candidate were disqualified from the race.
“Jeffery Washington and Scott Hirsbrunner have been disqualified. That [decision] is currently going through appeals through the student court,” said Election Commission Chair Amy Murlowski.
The election commission found Washington and Hirsbrunner had committed violations by:
• Campaigning in the Student Government Assembly office
• Campaign posting violations
• Campaigning at a table they had not reserved from Auraria Campus Event Services
“We won the election by a margin of 24 percent,” said Washington who received 582 votes. “I just don’t see how those alleged violations could make up for 136 votes.”
According to Murlowski, the election commission reviewed numerous other alleged violations by the pair, but only held them responsible for three. The others were dismissed.
After last year’s race, the election commission rewrote the codes and bylaws for this year’s election. Included was a “3-2-1” policy to regulate campaign violations.
The code dictates that if a candidate commits three separate violations, a repeat violation, or a single major ethical violation, the candidate will be disqualified from the election.
Murlowski explained that if a candidate is indeed disqualified for violations, they “are either incapable or disinterested in following the rules.”
This senate, of which both Washington and Hirsbrunner serve as senators, approved the election commission’s new codes and bylaws in January 2012
Other candidates also received violations, but only Washington and Hirsbrunner received the minimum three needed to prompt the election commission to disqualify the two executive hopefuls, Murlowski said.
“I’m not saying there is, but there’s enough evidence to suggest that there could be some bias based on their reasons,” Washington said. “I don’t know whether it’s race, or whether it’s gender, or whether it’s religion, or political views or what it is, but there is enough evidence to suggest that there is the possibility of a bias in this election.”
Hirsbrunner said the personal attacks started more than a year ago during his run for a senate seat when, he alleges, attempts were made to keep him from running.
Asked if the candidates were being disqualified for any reasons regarding their race, gender, political views or religious beliefs, Murlowski said, “Absolutely not.”
“It’s not that the commission may have a responsibility to deal with any violations found, the commission has a distinct responsibility.” Murlowski said.
Washington and Hirsbrunner are appealing the latest violation for posting campaign materials, as it is the only one that is within the five-day window to file appeals. They can’t appeal findings of fact, just that the election commission acted within its codes. In essence, the violations will stick as long as the election commission did not act outside of its codes and bylaws.
The appellate pretrial begins May 2, and Murlowski hopes the court rules as soon as possible.
“Right now it’s a 50-50 chance [we win the appeal],” Washington said.
In preparation for the trial, Washington and Hirsbrunner filed a motion May 1, asking to court to issue a summary judgment.
“This is a case of ‘respect the vote,’” Washington said. “The students voted. We won. Respect it. The fact that they disqualified us after they already knew the results — I mean, I just don’t know where else that would happen.