USG presidential candidate Priyanka Thakkar was found guilty by the USG Judiciary of multiple campaign violations, including failing to submit her campaign roster and budget on time, illegally hanging a poster in the Information Technologies Engineering building and tabling in Homer Babbidge Library. Thakkar’s campaign lost a total of 188 votes and gained three strikes.
While the number of strikes were enough to warrant a disqualification for Thakkar’s campaign, the USG Judiciary ruled the charges were not serious enough to consider ousting Thakkar from the race.
Several USG campaigns have also been penalized for campaign violations, including turning in election documents late and improper canvassing. The deliberations continued well into the night, lasting until after midnight.
DeMoura lost 120 votes after being found guilty of turning in his election documents late. The campaign for Comptroller, ran uncontested by Dylan Nenadal, lost 144 votes and one strike for the same charges as DeMoura.
Thakkar was also found not guilty of several charges, including posting fliers on the second floor of the Student Union bathroom, taking pictures to post on her campaign page near the UConnPIRG office and tabling in McMahon dining hall.
“I think we see today that Manny and I have done the best that we can to prove the integrity of USG, and we have done that throughout our campaign,” Thakkar said. “Our only goal in campaigning is to ensure that we are running ethically and not talking badly about anyone else.”
Much of Thakkar’s defense had to do with the inability to monitor every single person putting fliers or posters up around campus without her prior knowledge, she said in her defense.
“I cannot be in charge of every single person that was campaigning for me,” Thakkar said. “If they are not on my roster it is not my responsibility.”
Fabio Saccomanno, the candidate who accused Thakkar of five separate charges and DeMoura of one, said he was upset with the implications of the penalties given to both candidates.
“I am disappointed that the Judiciary did not pursue disqualification of candidate Thakkar due to her having used the EMS system that is only available to her as Comptroller,” Saccomanno said. “What she did would have been the equivalent of me getting access to the system as president of the Travel Model United Nations and reserving a table on behalf of the team, but then using it to campaign.”
Dylan DeMoura, the candidate who pressed one charge against Thakkar, said he was disappointed that USG does not have any external system to rule on these cases.
“The Judiciary is once again involved in deciding a student government election,” DeMoura said. “It warrants a necessity for an outside entity to hear campaign violations and I am looking forward to hear the democratic process unfold when we find out the vote total.”
The results for Joint Elections, with these penalties in mind, may be announced by the end of this week, Chief Justice Tumu said.
Marlese Lessing is the news editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. She tweets @marlese_lessing.
Taylor Harton is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at email@example.com.