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Student body president candidate removed from ballot for violation of election rules

April 26, 2017

As students fill out the revised ballot for the Student Government Association (SGA) election, one name will be left off due to violation of election rules.

At the Oversight and Rules Committee (ORC) meeting on Monday, April 24, it was decided that Bryce Krull, current Student Senate CAFES senator, will be taken off the ballot for the student body president and vice president positions, in which he was previously in the running.

This decision followed the submission of two complaints that Krull had violated the SGA election rules. In these complaints, it was claimed that Krull had made comments about his opponents that violated the election rule that candidates may not deceive the voting public.

The first complaint, submitted April 17, involved a statement that Krull made in a “Meet your Student Government Association candidates” Q&A in the April 14 edition of the Student Voice, in which the candidates for student body president and vice president answered a series of written questions.

In his published statement, Krull alluded to two of his opponents when he said, “Two of my opponents also have not had a voting right on Senate and have no track record of voting for or against the betterment of students.”

All of Krull’s opponents, both for president and vice president, have current or previous experience on Senate. Almost all of them have had voting records at one point with the exception of Kaylee Kildahl, who currently serves as the chief of staff. As members of the Executive Board, neither Abby Wendt, candidate for president, or Kildahl, candidate for vice president, currently have voting rights on Senate.

The other complaint, which was submitted on April 20, referenced a comment that Krull had made answering a question while campaigning at a meeting with Phi Mu, a sorority on campus. At the meeting, he had made a comment about one of his opponent’s past with the Senate.

Krull said that although he could have been more clear in the Student Voice about his opponents’ voting records, he still believes that his statements were important for students to make an informed decision.

“I don’t regret making [the statements] in the sense that they were true to my best knowledge about the current year and not pertaining to any other year, as well as if those statements weren’t true I wouldn’t have made them,” said Krull. “They were something I felt strongly that students should know.”

In an emailed statement, Zain Kaiser, who is running for president, said that the candidates were provided the election rules that they needed to follow.

“However, it is unfortunate that this happened and it’s important to remember that we all make mistakes. I wish Bryce the best as he pursues and continues with future leadership roles on our campus,” said Kaiser.

Wendt and Kildahl could not be reached in time for publication.

According to Krull, the complaints were sent to him at 11:52 p.m. Sunday night, with the ORC meeting being the following evening. One of the formal complaints was sent to him via email about five minutes before the meeting, and he said that he never received the second formal complaint.

“I was not able to prepare myself properly for the committee meeting,” said Krull.

Sarah Slinger, current ORC chairperson, and Dana Redlin, who was removed from the chairperson position during the Monday meeting, declined to comment on the decision to take Krull’s name off the ballot.

While Krull has been taken off the ballot for president and vice president, he was still able to run for other positions. He is currently on the ballot for inclusivity senator, CAFES senator and at-large senator.

Krull has five days following the ORC meeting on Monday to submit an appeal to overturn the decision to take his name off the ballot. The appeal will go to Chancellor Dean Van Galen to be reviewed. Van Galen will then decide if the ruling by the ORC should be overturned.

In the past, said Gregg Heinselman, SGA advisor, those in charge of the election who dealt with issues like this went through with having the election with the name of the person in question being on the ballot. They would then take the person out of the running if they found that the person was in violation of the election rules.

“They decided not to do that,” said Heinselman. “They decided to change the ballot and remove him at this point because they felt there was enough evidence.”

With the first ballot having to be removed because of a number of inaccuracies, the second ballot, which was published on Tuesday, may see the same fate if the appeal is approved.

“This may mean that we have to call this election null and void and go to a third election,” said Heinselman. “Which, if this is the decision and the appeal is successful, then that’s what we would do. We could still do an election this semester, I think, but if not Senate would have to do it in the fall.”

Krull said he planned to submit his appeal by Thursday.

Comments

Note: Commenting closes 14 days after the original post.

One response to Student body president candidate removed from ballot for violation of election rules

  1. Senate alum says:

    The true depth of this situation is probably such that the Voice wouldn’t be able to completely cover every single detail surrounding the removal. Still, I wonder if there isn’t more to this situation than is being publicly announced. It seems that what this person did wasn’t necessarily severe enough to warrant such a steep punishment.

    In any event, I think it’s probably unwise for the SGA to take this approach, given the problems they’ve had with this election so far. As Gregg Heinselman said, if his removal ends up invalidating the election, that just means the SGA will have to put out yet another ballot and that will take even more time. The SGA ought to have a plan in place for these contingencies so they don’t threaten to derail the entire elections process (more than it already has been).

    I’ve also had a chance to look at the SGA’s election rules, and I’m not sure where it’s spelled out that the ORC has the authority to remove a candidate from the ballot. Rule 7 of the Election Rules specifies that the ORC handles elections complaints. However, no rule that I’ve seen in the Election Rules specifies that the ORC has the authority to unilaterally remove someone from the ballot or impose any other penalties. There’s also nothing in the rules specifying the appeals process, including where the appeal would go (this article says that the appeal goes directly to Chancellor Van Galen) or how long he has to file the appeal (this article says he has five days). All told, it seems like the SGA ought to consider writing a formal complaint/appeals process into their documents, just in case something like this happens in the future. It seems unfair that a candidate would be put through a removal process without clear delineation of what that process is. If he’s telling the truth about receiving the second complaint only minutes before his hearing, that’s yet another serious issue that the SGA ought to rectify and prevent from occurring in future.