News | Student Life

Elections board investigates 2017 council party for email violations

Updated, April 7, 8:01 p.m.

The recently elected 2017 class council party Refresh is undergoing investigation by the Columbia Elections Board for sending unsolicited emails during its campaign.

Over the weekend, the elections board was informed that members of Refresh had sent unsolicited emails to a number of students asking them to vote during the elections—which violates campaign rules.

According to Jeremy Meyers, CC ’15 and president of the Columbia Elections Board, the board will dock two votes from Refresh. Nevertheless, the party will still be the elected representatives because they won the election with a 43-vote lead over runner-up party Columbia Classy.

“Right now, we would like to uphold the rules as they are and make sure candidates are following rules, because there’s no point in having rules if you don’t enforce them,” Meyers said.

“During campaigning we did send an email to friends and supporters of our party,” Refresh Vice President-elect Adanma Raymond, CC ’17, said in an email. “There were queries about the recipients which have since been resolved.”

After confirming the emails were sent, the elections board asked Refresh for a blind copy of the message and contacted every recipient to ask whether they requested to receive emails from Refresh or personally knew any of the party members. According to the elections board, the emails were sent by Refresh President-elect Sean Ryan, CC ’17.

The elections board contacted all 120 people who allegedly received an email. Fifteen of the 60 people who responded reported not requesting emails or knowing members of Refresh, Meyers said. The elections board used that number to extrapolate that around 30 emails were sent in violation of election rules, and decided to dock those votes.

“This is the sixth or seventh election I’ve managed, and this is something that happens—candidates tend to break this rule,” Meyers said. “But we kind of want to draw a line in the sand and say, ‘We’re not going to tolerate this anymore.’”

Ryan said that he hopes to look past this incident.

“All we’re going say right now, after the election, we were confronted with somebody claiming that there had been an election violation. Everything has since been resolved,” Ryan said. “We’re really looking forward to moving forward as a group—we’re really looking forward to serving the class.”

Correction: due to an editing error, a previous version of this article stated that Refresh will be docked 30 votes, when they will in fact be docked two votes. Spectator regrets the error.

elizabeth.sedran@columbiaspectator.com  |  @ezactron

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lol posted on

It's a friggin college election, guys. The stakes aren't high enough for you to cheat.

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Anonymous posted on

Yeah, it's a friggin college election, guys. The stakes aren't high enough for people to be sore losers and try to call out the winning (deserving) party for a petty campaign strategy that everyone, by the way, used. And lol @spec for getting their facts wrong... they took away 2 votes, not 30.

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