The vice presidential election between Sarah Doty and Charlotte Shackelford will head to a second runoff following a night of confusion and emotion on the Lyceum steps.
Doty said that at noon on the day of the runoff election, five hours after polls opened, the ASB Attorney General’s Office informed her that she was disqualified from Thursday’s runoff. That decision has since been reversed through an appeals process. According to Doty, her disqualification was a result of issues regarding campaign expenses. The Attorney General’s office has not commented on the details of Doty’s initial disqualification or appeals process.
After polls closed on Thursday night, the Associated Student Body Judicial Council held an appeals hearing in response to Doty’s disqualification. The Judicial Council unanimously ruled the ASB Attorney General’s Office made an “erroneous” decision to disqualify the candidate without due process on the day of the runoff election.
“The council came to this decision primarily because it determined due process was not properly afforded to the candidate,” ASB Judicial Chair Alex Crouch said on behalf of the Judicial Council in a statement to The Daily Mississippian. “The candidate was originally disqualified without being provided an opportunity to present a defense.”
Because the hearing and appeals process occurred on election day, the ASB Judicial Council determined that the candidate in question “was not afforded an equal opportunity to campaign” on the day of the runoff election.
“When the judicial council reviewed the decision, they ruled that the disqualification was clearly erroneous,” Doty said.
Crouch did not confirm when or why Doty was disqualified but said the council convened for an appeals hearing at 7:15 p.m. on election night. Questions still remain as to why Doty was disqualified from the race.
The rescheduled runoff will take place on Tuesday, April 9.
Bennett Wilfong, Interim Deputy Attorney General of Elections, said the judicial council would release a statement on Friday about next week’s “secondary” election.
Wilfong and other members of the justice department declined to answer questions related to the election.
JC Pride, the chairman of the ASB elections commission, declined to comment on the election results or the Judicial Council hearing and referred all questions to Interim Attorney General Anya Czerwinski. Czerwinski also declined to comment.
Incoming judicial chair Liza Boyer said she has no access to the information regarding Thursday’s judicial hearing.
“I’m just as in the dark as anyone else,” Boyer said. “The only person who would be able to speak about the hearings is the current judicial chair Alex Crouch.”
5,300 students turned out to vote on April 4, in what Czerwinski described as the second highest turnout for a runoff election in the university’s history. The Attorney General’s office did not release specifics regarding the results of the vice presidential runoff held on Thursday.
5,514 students voted in the initial election on April 2. Doty received 28.12% of the vote, and Shackelford received 30.48%.