At least 15 candidates were to be omitted from the final ballot for Grand Marshal Week 2016 Elections as a result of two decisions released by the Rules and Elections Committee on Sunday, April 10.
The first decision involved preliminary candidate expense forms. The forms are listed in the GM Week 2016 Handbook as being due on Friday, April 8 at 5 pm for all candidates, regardless of whether or not they had any expenses at the time of submission.
On Sunday, April 10, R&E Chairman Victoria Tong ’16 had issued a preliminary decision stating that the deadline for the expense forms would be extended until 5 pm on Sunday. According to Section 12.6 of the Handbook, the chairman can issue preliminary decisions, but the committee must ratify or overturn the decision within 24 hours.
Later that day, R&E voted to overturn Tong’s ruling and approved a decision removing any candidate that failed to turn in the forms by the deadline from the final ballot. This ruling included President of the Union candidate Shannon Gillespie McComb ’17, as well as a number of other candidates.
Shortly after Decision 1 was released, the committee issued a second decision relating to nomination forms. In a similar vein to the first decision, the second decision detailed R&E’s overturning of a preliminary ruling by Tong allowing candidates to turn in nomination forms until Sunday, April 10.
The same action was enacted for candidates who did not submit a sufficient number of nominations by Friday, April 8 at 5 pm. This ruling affected PU candidate Liam McEneaney ’17, who had fewer than 300 nominations of the 600 required by the Friday deadline.
As a result of the removal of two PU candidates from the ballot, the primary debates and election were canceled, as primary elections are only warranted when the number of candidates running is over twice the number of position openings; in the case of the PU, at least three candidates are needed to warrant a primary.
On Monday, April 11, after several hours of appeals, R&E released four more decisions.
Decision 3 overturned Decision 1, and Decision 4 ruled that any candidate who turned in a late preliminary expense form, or none at all, is barred from any further postering and must remove all existing posters by 12 pm on Tuesday.
Decision 5 proactively warned candidates that anyone who does not turn in a final expense form by Wednesday at 5 pm will not be included on the final ballot.
Finally, Decision 6 overturned Decision 2 and extended the deadline for nomination form submissions to Monday, April 11 at 11:59 pm.
Following the submission of several appeal requests from candidates, the Judicial Board convened to hold a hearing on the matters. In the early hours of Tuesday, graduate student and J-Board Chairman Nathan James released the body’s first decision pertaining to the 2016 election season, which consists of four unanimous rulings.
The first affirmed that the final elections would proceed as planned and that any canceled primaries shall remain canceled.
Next, the J-Board ruled that candidates who failed to turn in preliminary expense forms did violate the Elections Handbook, but decided that, because it could unfairly impact the affected candidates’ races, R&E’s Decision 4 is “not in effect.”
Finally, the aforementioned candidates found in violation would be penalized with a 20 percent reduction of expense limits.
On Tuesday, April 12, following an inquiry regarding the grade point average minimum for GM and PU candidates, R&E released another wave of decisions involving candidates’ appeals to have the minimum waived.
In Decision 7, three rulings were made regarding Gillespie McComb’s appeal. The first permitted her to submit an appeal even though her candidacy form had already been submitted, and the second requested that she submit a more thorough appeal that details the specific circumstances. Finally, the third placed a sanction on Gillespie McComb for her late submission, adding an additional hour of community service to her requirement.
Decision 8, Decision 9, Decision 10, Decision 11 also acknowledged the GPA minimum and formally approved the appeals of GM candidates Paul Ilori ’17, McEneaney, Gillespie McComb, and Class of 2019 Senator candidate Caleb Caraway ’19.
Finally, Decision 12 sanctioned Caraway for violation of Section 1.2 with an additional hour of community service.
Four sanctions have been issued as of press time for various sign policy infringements.
The final GM and PU debates will take place tonight, April 13, starting at 7 pm with the GM candidates. Final elections will take place on Thursday in the Darrin Communications Center, Commons Dining Hall, and the Rensselaer Union, starting at 9 am. If no PU candidate receives 40 percent of the votes, a runoff election will be held with the top two candidates early next week.
All decisions released by R&E and the J-Board that relate to GM Week 2016 can be found at http://poly.rpi.edu/s/3zfqt/.