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Student body president election back on following review

Spencer Mandzak and Patrick Houlihan argued that they should be on the student body president ballot following a miscommunication.
Spencer Mandzak and Patrick Houlihan argued that they should be on the student body president ballot following a miscommunication.

Following the announcement of Miami University’s new student body president, Patrick Houlihan and Spencer Mandzak are one step closer to returning to the ballot following a review of their application submission by Miami’s Associated Student Government’s (ASG) Judicial Council on Feb. 23.

Houlihan and Mandzak were originally told that they would not be on the ballot following a late submission of the required 150 signatures. Will Brinley and Babs Dwyer ran unopposed and were announced at an ASG meeting on Feb. 20 as the new student body president and vice president. At the council’s review, Houlihan and Madzak argued that the Feb. 19 deadline at noon for the signatures was not clearly communicated.

“We followed the publicly stated time and submitted valid petitions,” Houlihan, a junior political science major and president of Miami’s College Democrats, said. “And we believe that the student body deserves to have a choice on who their next student body president and vice president should be.”

Houlihan and Mandzak, a junior public administration major and vice chairman of Miami’s College Republicans, argued that the election packet and various emails showed a 5 p.m. deadline that they followed and not the correct noon deadline that was enforced.

Before the noon deadline, Houlihan and Mandzak had collected 149 of the 150 signatures that each candidate is required to get on the ballot. Between noon and 5 p.m., Houlihan and Mandzak obtained enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Though the two are now able to be on the ballot, the extra signatures they gathered after noon on Feb. 19 will now have to be verified by ASG’s Election Committee.

“Due to multiple forms of miscommunication via the @miamiasg Instagram, we have decided to reinstate the petitioners into the process. Any further matters of concern regarding Student Body President and Vice President candidate eligibility shall be the purview of the ASG Elections Committee,” Student Body President Nyah Smith wrote in an email statement.

During the hearing, Speaker of the Senate Tia Bakshi said that there are possible violations involved with how Houlihan and Madzak acquired their 150 signatures.

The Election Committee had previously reviewed the 149 signatures that were available at the noon deadline on Feb. 19. Bakshi said that Houlihan and Mandzak may have committed violations within those signatures that have not been revealed.

“Another aspect, which we’ll keep vague, is if both Spencer and Patrick had 150 signatures, the committee would have had to review some other information that we were given regarding a potential violation,” Bakshi said. “And there was also another aspect that would have been relevant to their candidacy beyond the 150 signatures, which was not made clear to them that day.”

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