Former Interim ASB Attorney General Anya Czerwinski made an “erroneous” ruling in disqualifying ASB vice presidential candidate Sarah Doty on Thursday night, according to a report released by Alex Crouch, the Associated Student Body judicial chair. The council overturned the attorney general’s office’s ruling and ordered a new election be held April 9.
The Judicial Council removed Czerwinski and Deputy Attorney General of Elections Bennett Wilfong from the election process because of their involvement in Doty’s appeal process.
Austin Fiala, who won the uncontested election for attorney general last Tuesday, has been reinstated to the office and will preside over the secondary runoff between Doty and Charlotte Shackelford.
“Due to procedural concerns, the Judicial Council included in their ruling (that) Anya and Bennett would not be able to manage this upcoming election,” Fiala. “I was told shortly afterward, in order to run a fair election, someone was needed with experience.”
Czerwinski declined to comment on the Judicial Council’s ruling and referred all questions to Fiala. He said that he supported the Judicial Council’s ruling and that it was based on “nothing but fact.”
Czerwinski initially said Doty had violated election rules by not listing new campaign funds she used in Thursday’s runoff election on her expense form filed on Tuesday. Czerwinski held an emergency meeting to discuss the alleged violation without allowing Doty the opportunity to defend herself.
“I called (Doty), and I let her know that as of right now … having new expenses would be a disqualification. I took it upon myself to let her know that,” Czerwinski said in the judicial report.
Crouch and the Judicial Council overturned this decision by determining that it was not possible for Doty to have filed her runoff expense on Tuesday, and therefore, she could not have committed the alleged violation.
The council ruled that, because Doty thought she had been disqualified, she did not have an equal opportunity to campaign on the day of the first runoff election.
“I hope no other candidate ever has to experience what I did on Thursday,” Doty said. “Being wrongly disqualified in the middle of the election day and denied an opportunity to be heard was inexcusable. ASB must function to help ensure student voices are heard.”
Crouch said many of the issues on Thursday night could have been resolved if the ASB Code and Constitution had been written more clearly and concisely.
“The (Code and Constitution) can be difficult to understand and is written so vaguely that it has allowed room for different interpretations in this case,” Crouch said. “It’s hard to fault anyone. However, aside from conduct cases, one of the Judicial Council’s core functions within ASB is to establish precedent on these complex issues.”