Election Board discusses possible ASWSU election bylaw violations

Both tickets accused of violating bylaws; decision regarding violations coming at later date

LIAM CONNORS, Deputy news editor

Both ASWSU president and vice president tickets presented their sides regarding possible election bylaw violations during a public hearing on Tuesday.

Vice President-elect Kiana Parsi defended a Panopto recording, which shows Parsi promoting her campaign in Psychology 320; According to the ASWSU bylaws, this is a violation.

In the video, Parsi talks about her and President-elect Jacob Martinez’s campaign goals. At the end, she passed out QR codes that took people to their campaign page on Instagram.

“I think we’re a little better, but I’m a bit biased,” Parsi said in the video.

One member of ASWSU’s Election Board asked Parsi if she believed her speaking in class could be considered campaigning. Parsi said her main goal was to raise awareness about the elections. 

“My intention was to get people to show up to the debate,” she said.

Parsi said she was unaware of the bylaw until Martinez notified her of the violation. Parsi acknowledged her mistake and said subtracting 150 votes, about the number of people registered in the class, from the election results is a fair consequence. 

Sydney Finch, ASWSU chief of staff and presidential candidate, said the video was a “clear and gross” violation of the bylaw. She said if the Election Board ignores the violations, then they are proving to students that there are no consequences for students who ignore bylaws.

“Had Kjelt [Visser] and I promoted our campaigns in our classes, the results could have been drastically different,” Finch said.

Finch and Visser were notified about the video by a campaign member who is in the same class as Parsi. Finch said there is no way of knowing how much campaigning in class impacted the election, claiming the impact could have been greater than the 150 people. 

The Election Board questioned Finch/Visser on why it took so long to report the video and submit a complaint about the bylaw violation. There were several days between when Finch/Visser received the video and when they lodged a complaint.

The Election Board said Finch/Visser submitted the election violation form informally, via email, rather than following proper procedures.

Finch/Visser Violations

Martinez and Parsi accused the Finch/Visser ticket of wrongly promoting their campaign on Instagram. Parsi and Martinez said by tagging themselves on their campaign account, they were campaigning on their personal Instagram page because the photos showed up on the tagged photos section of their personal accounts.

“While they weren’t directly shared, they were tagged on their public personal Instagram accounts,” Martinez said.

Finch said the bylaw does not specifically state that you cannot tag yourself on social media.

Martinez and Parsi also raised concerns about Finch/Visser promoting their campaign at the Compton Union Building and at Finch’s apartment.

There were disagreements on whether or not this was actually a bylaw violation. The Election Board will deliberate and make a decision at a later date.