Elections board dismisses grievance against Helena Schlegel and UO Forward
The ASUO Elections Board has dismissed the grievance brought by We Are Oregon against UO Forward, saying there is insufficient evidence to prove that a petition circulated in early March by Helena Schlegel and several members of the slate was used for fraudulent campaigning purposes.
The elections board said it had followed the precedent set by the body in 2013 in its ruling regarding the Lane County Democrats that looked at the primary purpose of the actions of the campaign.
“Upon examination of the evidence presented by both campaigns, it has been determined that the primary purpose of circulating a petition on behalf of the coalition was to gather names and information of students who supported tuition freeze in order to present to the UO Board of Trustees to demonstrate widespread support,” the ruling read.
“According to the ruling in the 2013 case, it is not the responsibility of the Elections Board to police student free speech or student organization outside of the elections season. Similarly there is no explicit evidence to support premature outright campaigning or vote solicitation on behalf of the UO Forward campaign, the Elections Board finds no violations of the Elections Rules,” it read in another section.
Therefore, the runoff election between the We Are Oregon and UO Forward executive tickets will proceed and Schlegel and the UO Forward executive candidates will not be removed from the ballot.
The grievance was brought by We Are Oregon campaign manager Taylor Allison, who presented screenshots of conversations between Schlegel and other UO Forward members and a recorded phone conversation with We Are Oregon presidential candidate Miles Sisk as evidence that UO Forward had been pursuing fraudulent campaigning practices according to the elections rules.
Allison said that We Are Oregon will appeal the ruling to the ASUO Constitution Court.
“We think that not only was the ruling incorrect and wrongly interpreted, but also that there are conflicts of interest within the elections board and the constitution court has the resources and experience to handle this,” Allison said.
Allison said the use of the testimony given by ASUO Chief of Staff Lamar Wise as evidence for the ruling represents a conflict of interest, as Wise was part of the hiring committee that selected Elections Board Coordinator Monica Nunan for her position.
“They never even denied using the phone numbers for the campaign and that’s the problem,” Allison said about the ruling.
Schlegel responded to the ruling and the potential appeal in a written statement:
“I’m very pleased with the Elections Board’s ruling. It’s unfortunate to see that We Are Oregon is appealing the decision. I was hopeful that the ruling would bring the end to attempted petty politics, but I was wrong. Our campaign is staying positive and are committed to winning fair and square by talking to voters on the streets and over the phone. I am proud of my slate and the rest of my team for handling this situation with grace and we look forward to talking to students Monday at 9 a.m.”
Follow Kaylee Tornay on Twitter @ka_tornay
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