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Thursday, May 23
The Indiana Daily Student

IUSA supreme court to hold appeal hearing Wednesday

IU Student Association executive tickets RISE and REAL and the election commission will argue their cases Wednesday in front of the IUSA Supreme Court.

Beginning at 6 p.m. in the Maurer School of Law Moot Court Room, the supreme court will hear all sides of RISE for IUSA’s appeal of the election commission’s decision regarding vote deductions for REAL for IUSA.

While the supreme court and the election commission work separately throughout the election process, if a ticket disagrees with a commission decision, they can appeal it to the supreme court.

“We accept an appeal if we think the election commission either committed a clear error or if they’ve been biased throughout the process,” Chief Justice Owen Hoepfner said.

The hearing will have four main parts. RISE, REAL and the election commission will each get 40 minutes of oral argument. Throughout the oral argument, the supreme court has a chance to interrupt and ask questions.

Once oral arguments are finished, each party has five minutes for a concluding statement.

All sides will submit evidence as well as petitioner’s briefs, reply briefs or third-party briefs to the supreme court prior to the hearing Wednesday evening.

“Most people would be shocked with how much evidence each side has,” Hoepfner said. “Both sides are very meticulous in case of situations such as an appeal.”

RISE filed a complaint with the commission during the elections stating REAL had committed voter fraud.

While the election commission agreed REAL had committed voter fraud, they deducted only 21.4 percent of REAL’s votes. RISE is appealing this decision and requesting the disqualification of REAL.

Two complaints filed by RISE against REAL stated REAL committed voter fraud.

One complaint stated the IU College Democrats sent out an email endorsing REAL and included a link used for student voting. Sending out the voting link is considered voting fraud, according to the election code.

The commission’s decision stated the IU College Democrats executive board committed voter fraud, and becuase REAL members were on this executive board, REAL committed voter fraud.

Another complaint stated a member of REAL’s ticket made a Facebook post supporting the ticket and distributing the 
voting link.

REAL claims the student was never a part of their ticket and was therefore a third party who was allowed to make posts such as this.

RISE claims both of these infractions were voter fraud, and REAL should be disqualified instead of simply having votes deducted.

REAL President Sara Zaheer, however, said REAL did not commit voter fraud. Both the College Democrats and the student who sent out the link did so without being told to do so by anyone on REAL.

Because of this, REAL filed an appeal with the supreme court regarding the commission’s decision to deduct 21.4 percent of their votes.

The supreme court denied this appeal. However, REAL will get a chance to argue its side at Wednesday’s hearing. Normally, the hearing has two arguing sides, but since this appeal has multiple parties involved, three sides will get the chance to argue.

“Although they’re arguing from vastly different perspectives, they are pretty much appealing the same decision from the election commission,” Hoepfner said.

After the hearing, the supreme court has 48 hours to release a decision, which will most likely include one or two sentences stating their verdict. Hoepfner said about a week later the court will hopefully release the official opinion, which will be used to set precedent for future elections.

Hoepfner said it’s important the process is as fair as possible. Whoever takes office should be who the students really want.

“I’m proud that IU has this expansive system of checks and balance even for student government,” Hoepfner said.

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