The Associated Student Body presidential election took an unexpected turn last night at The University of Mississippi.
An hour before the announcement of results current Attorney General Matthew Kiefer and deputies held a preliminary investigation of potential violations in the administration of both presidential campaigns.
Kiefer said violations were reported by individual students and the Elections Commission independent of campaigns.
“They have the highest priority and the highest value in their witnessing,” Kiefer said of the Elections Commission.
Kiefer confirmed that both presidential candidates, Gregory Alston and Maddie Fumi, were cited for campaign violations, but that fines assessed did not exceed $100. Candidates would have been automatically disqualified if their violation total had exceeded $100.
“I had received reports of sticker violations, flyers being misplaced and a few reports of violations that could warrant disqualification,” Kiefer said.
Kiefer maintained that the results of the election would stand, even in light of the violations of both campaigns, and that the most common violation was inappropriately placed campaign materials.
“The outcome of the election would not change,” Kiefer said, “No matter if there were zero fines, or if the fines were enforced to the fullest.”
Following a 30-minute deliberation, Alston and Fumi joined other candidates and supporters outside the Lyceum where current ASB executives announced the results of Tuesday’s election in which a record 4,821 votes were cast.
“We had a record number this year,” Associate Dean of Students Melinda Pullen Carlson of the historic turnout.
“This shows students that this election process is important to the student body,” Headlining the winners of Tuesday’s election was Alston, who secured his spot as the 2013-14 ASB president with 60.65 percent of the votes cast.
Alston’s platform included the formation of a University Creed Week, comprehensive attention to the issue of parking difficulties on campus, proposing that students be allowed to pay their first tickets through community service, making Flex and Express funds usable at all sporting events and a five-day dead week before finals.
Alston has most recently served as the ASB director of athletics, a member of the Sensitivity and Respect Committee, and was voted Senator of the Year in 2012.
“I’ve been involved in ASB for a while now, and I was really excited to see that so many people voted,” Alston said.
“We just had a great turnout and that’s just huge — it’s hard to get the students to vote sometimes.”
President-elect Alston said he realizes that he did not win this election alone.
“I just want to thank everybody — I had a great team, and there’s no way I could have done this by myself,” Alston said.
“This is something I’ve been dreaming about, and I’m just looking forward to the next year.”
Kelsey Pettus, freshman biology major and Alston supporter, was pleased with the election results.
“I’m very pleased with the turnout,” Pettus said. “I know Gregory is going to do a great job leading the school.”
Freshman criminal justice major Ashley Baril was similarly pleased.
“I think the results are a very accurate representation of everyone’s opinion on campus, as far as what I saw on Facebook and all social media,” Baril said.
“I’m really excited for everything they’re going to do.”
Kimbrely Dandridge, current president of the Ole Miss Associated Student Body, emphasized her optimism for the success of the newly elected administration.
“I’m excited for the newly elected ASB officers,” Dandridge said.
“I am confident that they will each contribute greatly to the entire student body, and I wish them all the best of luck.”
Maddie Fumi was unavailable for comment on the election results.