The IU Student Association Supreme Court upheld the disqualification of Amplify for IUSA, the preliminary winner of the IUSA election.
The election commission identified INTouch for IUSA as the winner, however the Supreme Court must still verify the results, head of the election commission Aparna Srinath said.
Before accounting for infractions, Amplify for IUSA received 3,574 votes, initially winning the election. INtouch for IUSA came in second with 2,697 votes and UNIFY for IUSA came in third with 1,994 votes.
After accounting for infractions, however, Amplify for IUSA finished with 3,163 votes, still winning the election. INtouch for IUSA finished second with 2,507 votes and UNIFY for IUSA finished third with 1,994 votes.
Amplify, however, failed to include branded T-shirts and a miniature pony in its total campaign expenditures and failed to list the shirts and pony in its final financial statements.
According to the election code, tickets that spent more money than they received in campaign contributions or that spent more than $3,000 are eligible for disqualification. The election commission accused the ticket of exceeding both limits, as well as the campaign contribution limit from a single source, which can only reach $250, consequently disqualifying the ticket.
Amplify, however, appealed the disqualification, accusing the election ?commission of issuing a misleading advisory opinion.
When the ticket reached out to the election commission, asking if it could list shirts at a discounted price on the financial statements, the election commission said the ticket could.
The ticket, however, eventually received the shirts for free, rather than at a discounted price. The ticket, therefore, did not list the shirts on the financial statements at all, rather than listing them at a discounted price.
Amplify contends that, even though the situation changed, it did not need to ask for a second advisory opinion.
Rather, it chose not to list the shirts on the financial statements based on its interpretation of the initial ?advisory opinion.
The election commission, however, contends that, because the situation changed, the ticket should have asked for a second advisory ?opinion.
The Supreme Court agreed, ruling that while the advisory opinion was improper, it was not misleading, according to the official decision.
The ticket should have asked for an advisory opinion regarding the acquiring of free goods, rather than the acquiring of discounted goods.
The Supreme Court also acknowledged that no set process for administering advisory opinions exist and determined a set process for administering them in the future.
The advisory opinion in question was merely administered via text messages between Srinath and Rachel Martinez, Amplify chief of staff candidate.
The ticket seeking an advisory opinion must send a formal request regarding a specific question to the election commission’s official email account, according to a press release from the IUSA Supreme Court.
The election commission, after conferring with each other, must issue a formal response to that specific question, making the response available to the public.
Should the ticket seek a clarification of the advisory opinion, the ticket and the election commission must repeat the previous steps.
It is then the ticket’s, not the election commission’s, responsibility to make sure the advisory opinion is correctly and closely followed, according to the release.