The final decision on this week’s controversial Student Government election will come Saturday when the University Court hears an appeal to the election board’s decision to disqualify Unite LSU from the election after alleged overspending.
Both Impact LSU and Unite LSU’s campaign financial documents became available to the public on Thursday. Unite LSU’s spending limit was $6,250, and it spent a total of $6,033.11, according to the campaign financial documents.
The decision to disqualify the Unite LSU ticket from the general election came from the election board moments before the results were to be announced Wednesday afternoon.
SG Commissioner of Elections Aimeé Simon said the decision to disqualify the Unite ticket from the election was made based on fair market value of campaign banners.
Simon said the SG Election Code gives the election board the right to revalue an expense response on a campaign’s financial documents. Simon said Unite LSU’s financial form is questionable, and in an online explanation Thursday, she said the price for Woodard’s banners was low and once revalued, it was determined to be unfair.
“We are allowed to determine fair market value of any expense on a ticket’s campaign,” Simon said.
The SG Election Code states “The election board reserves the right to revalue an expense or donation in response to a discrepancy and/or complaint that the good or service is not reported at its fair market value. The election board must submit three (3) reasonable price references from merchants in estimating the value of any contested reported price.”
Simon used a hypothetical scenario to explain fair market value.
“Let’s say my father works at a screening company, which he does not, and he can get everything printed for my campaign for free,” Simon said. “That would not be fair to other campaigns.”
Unite LSU adviser Joe Gipson said to his knowledge, no one on the Unite ticket is related to anyone who works for Talk’n T-Shirts, the company that Unite LSU used for its banners and several other items.
Gipson said the ticket will file an appeal today against the Election Board’s decision to disqualify Unite LSU.
“We did not spend more money than we were allowed,” Gipson said.
Gipson said Unite LSU bought a significant number of items from Talk’n T-Shirts, including banners, buttons and stickers, and were given a quote on all of the items. They were not necessarily given a discount, he said.
Gipson said he is hopeful the court will overturn the election board’s decision .
“If they upheld the disqualification, or this false expenditure increase that the election board implemented, that three people on the election board voted to implement, [the disqualification] would override all of the student body’s votes,” Gipson said.
Gipson said the UCourt’s decision will not only affect the presidential race, but will also change the dynamic of the legislative branch.
“They would be taking out almost every elected member from the legislative branch,” he said
Chief Justice Morgan Faulk said the UCourt will hear the appeal at 7 a.m. Saturday in the Student Union’s Atchafalaya Room.
Faulk said the decision the court makes will be final.
“Regardless if we decide to overturn the election board’s decision or uphold it, there can be no further appeal,” Faulk said
Impact LSU’s presidential candidate T Graham S. Howell failed to return calls to The Daily Reveille on Thursday night for comment.