Updated at 11:00 p.m.
According to official posts on their website and social media accounts, the results of the Vice Presidential primary for the Associated Students of the University of Nevada include the disqualifications of two candidates. Kate Torres won the race on default but later dropped.
In the post on ASUN’s website, Keegan Murphy and Aaron Piña were disqualified for charges related to campaign finance forms. The post cites multiple codes, both from the Statutes of the Associated Students and the candidate packet provided to each candidate. These included:
a. Title 702, Section 13, Subsection E, 8) “Failing to turn in campaign finance receipts, as required by Section 20”
b. Title 702, Section 20, Subsection B, 1) “Enforcement of the campaign finance regulations shall be the responsibility of the Director of Elections and Democratic Education”
c. Title 702, Section 20, Subsection B, 5) “It shall be the responsibility of the candidate to provide proof of purchase or proof of donation of campaign materials prior to dissemination. If unable to provide a receipt, they may indicate so and instead provide an estimate of fair market value. Receipts must be provided beginning with the Candidates’ Meeting and thereafter.”
2. Candidate Packet
a. Page 1: “Please read it carefully as you will be held responsible for information contained within this packet, the ASUN Constitution and the Statues of the Associated Students (SAS)”
b. Page 1: “You are responsible for obtaining and understanding the Elections Code. This can be found in the SAS, Chapter 702: Elections Code. If you have any questions regarding this material, please ask before the campaigning begins”
c. Page 4: Failure to comply with the Candidate Packet required deadline “Primary Elections Budget Forms Due Thursday March 4, 2021 5:00 p.m. ASUN Front Desk and NevadaBox, Failure to comply: Automatic removal from elections (Primary Elections candidates only)”
d. Page 13 Elections Budget Form: “Instructions: 1. Itemize materials used in your campaign on the numbered lines below. Please mark receipts according to the line used. For example, all expenses listed in line 1, will be accounted for on a receipt marked with a “1”. 2. Itemize materials donated to your campaign in the lettered spaces provided. Please make sure each attached donation form is marked with the letter of the corresponding donation. For example, all donated items listed in line A, will be accounted for on a donation form marked with an “A”. 3. Candidates running for elections are limited to spending as follows: (1) Presidential candidates, $500; (2) Vice Presidential candidates, $400; and (3) Senator candidates, $200. 4. The budget form, all receipts, and donation forms must be submitted electronically to the NevadaBox AND hard copies must be submitted to the ASUN Front Desk by 5:00 p.m., by the deadline date”
e. Page 14 ASUN Elections Donation Form: “In the case where a donor cannot confirm current worth of materials or services, the candidate may obtain a bid for said materials or services and use that amount as the actual cost. Bids must be attached to each donation form”
Additionally, ASUN posted the results and information about Murphy and Piña’s disqualification to their Instagram.
View this post on Instagram
According to Murphy and Piña, they both received “courtesy calls” from Director of Elections Kevin Finkler. Both Murphy and Piña felt they were not given an explanation or a chance to ask questions. Murphy’s call with Finkler lasted around four minutes, while Piña’s was only one minute long.
Due to Piña’s and Murphy’s disqualification, Kate Torres won on default. Shortly after the announcement of her victory, Torres announced via her Instagram story that she would be dropping the race.
“I am dropping the race. The fact ASUN was so inaccessible that a candidate that has ran a campaign three times before and a candidate who’s first time running disqualified and I am the person and I got the lowest amount of votes disgusts me. I do not want the title. I did not earn it and this is outrageous,” her post read.
Around 10:30 p.m., a petition was posted to change.org demanding action be taken against these election results.
“78% of student votes were disqualified over one form. Student voices deserve to be heard and this is an unprecedented ploy to silence students,” the petition read. “We the undersigned demand a full investigation be carried out and we demand swift action be taken.”
As these results came to light, current and former ASUN officers took to social media to express their feelings about the results.
ASUN College of Liberal Arts Senator Victoria Supple commented on ASUN’s Instagram post calling for transparency.
“Make the campaign finance forms and the times public to the student body per SAS Title VII, Chapter 702, Section 20, subsection b, 3,” Supple commented.
College of Community Health Sciences Senator Sedrick Abrams commented on the post calling for public comment.
“What happened to being a voice for all students….Students please come to the next senate meeting for public comment and voice your opinions,” Abrams commented.
Former Speaker of the Senate Savannah Hughes echoed Abrams’ comment.
“This is the biggest joke I have ever seen,” Hughes commented. “Student voices deserve to be heard and this is an unprecedented ploy to silence students.”
The Nevada Sagebrush News Desk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.