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The Indiana Daily Student

campus student govt

UNITED claims IUSG popular vote victory, Supreme Court will decide on disqualification

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The UNITED campaign for IUSG student body president and vice president is claiming victory of the popular vote after a delayed election result. However, official results are yet to be announced, and the IUSG supreme court must weigh in to determine if the campaign is disqualified due to alleged election campaign violations. It is unclear which campaign finished second.  

IUSG officially postponed its inauguration amid continued delays in their election results, Aidan Chism, press secretary for the IUSG Congress said. The original inauguration was scheduled for April 15 and postponed to April 25. The IUSG Supreme Court is now charged with providing a ruling on complaints that UNITED claimed on Instagram disqualifies their campaign.  

The IUSG Supreme Court did not immediately respond to a request for comment.  

Campaign election violations result in a campaign receiving “points” based on the severity of the violation, according to the IUSG bylaws. The UNITED campaign claimed on Instagram they received 31 points from the election manager, significantly higher than the 10 points that subject a campaign to disqualification.  

UNITED claimed on Monday that they won the popular vote with a 49.26% share, with a margin of victory of nearly 11%.  The IDS cannot independently confirm the vote totals. IUSG Election Manager Tasneem Afdahl has not responded to multiple requests for comment. 

UNITED said in a statement to the IDS that mass messages in GroupMe have been used in previous elections without penalty. The IDS cannot independently confirm these claims. 

“In accordance with RB 3-8-5 of the IUSG Bylaws, GroupMe is not explicitly defined as a telecommunication,” the statement reads. “The majority of past campaigns dating back to 2021 have also sent GroupMe messages similar to ours and have never featured an opt-out statement. Our appeal challenges the decision of the election commission as we believe it is a clear break from precedent and an unauthorized expansion of the bylaws.”  

Section RB 3-8-5 of the IUSG bylaws says campaign telecommunications refers to “an email message; a text message; or a telephone call.” 

The results are still officially unannounced because of slowdowns from FUSE and UNITED filing at least 17 election-related complaints against each other to the IUSG election manager. The campaigns both alleged violations that, if proven, would disqualify each campaign from holding office, according to IUSG bylaws. IU Helene G. Simon Hillel Center President Leah Sterbcow and IUSG Congressperson Louis Gallegos each sent additional complaints regarding both campaigns’ alleged misuse of email communications.  

The FUSE campaign sent a statement to the IDS regarding the delayed election results. 

“We extend our sincere gratitude to the Election Commission and the Supreme Court for their diligent efforts in upholding the integrity of the electoral process as the FUSE campaign stands firmly with the principles of fairness and justice. The violations committed by the UNITED ticket breach telecommunication restrictions that are aimed at safeguarding student data privacy and ensuring compliance with university policy. The student body has and continues to remain at the forefront of our campaign and we thank them for their ongoing support,” FUSE said in the statement.

As the Ignite administration's term ends Monday, IUSG bylaws say the lack of certified election results will temporarily promote Speaker of Congress Abbey Miller to student body president, given the IUSG Supreme Court does not make a ruling before 11:59 p.m. Monday night.   

Miller said she plans to ensure that student government is operating smoothly and will focus on the clerical tasks of the president.  

A resolution to change the IUSG bylaws, which would have allowed the outgoing president Aaliyah Raji to continue her term until election results are confirmed, did not pass during the Congress’ regular meeting Monday. The resolution needed unanimous consent to fast-track out of committee but faced an objection by Chism, which sent the bill back to the oversight committee.  

The IUSG Supreme Court is now tasked with considering two complaints against the UNITED campaign's use of telecommunications. UNITED appealed the original complaints, and the Supreme Court must interpret the IUSG bylaws, namely, to determine whether messages through GroupMe count as “text messages.”  FUSE’s complaints allege the UNITED campaign violated campaign rules by mass texting students. There is no official timetable for the Supreme Court’s ruling. 

The reasons for the other complaints vary significantly, from UNITED accusing FUSE of defacing campaign materials, by pouring water on UNITED’s campaign messages in chalk and covering UNITED’s campaign's paintings on the bridges on Eagleson Avenue to UNITED’s unconfirmed suspicion that the FUSE campaign was spending too much money on cookies. 

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated UNITED claimed victory in the election, the campaign has only claimed victory in the popular vote.

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