Judicial issue delays MSA presidential election

Online voting for the election will begin Nov. 15.

The Missouri Students Association presidential election, originally scheduled to begin 6 p.m. Monday, has been postponed, according to an e-mail from the Board of Elections Commissioners chairman. Online voting for the election at vote.missouri.edu will commence one week from the original starting date, at 6 p.m. Nov. 15.

MSA presidential candidate Ben Hansen said he filed complaint with the BEC at about 4:30 p.m. Monday because he believed the presidential slate for Josh Travis and Michelle Horan had violated the mass e-mail rule pursuant to the BEC Handbook. MSA presidential candidate Eric Woods said his slate also filed suit against Travis-Horan but did not confirm why.

BEC Chairman Jacob Sloan said the election had been postponed due to a "substantial judicial issue" but chose not to comment further on the situation.

"We would like to not comment before meeting with the judicial board and Travis and Horan," he said.

Horan said she is unsure why the election was postponed, but that she didn’t think filing a complaint could be considered a substantial judicial issue. Travis said it was clear no one on his campaign team sent out mass e-mails and that the e-mails were sent by third party supporters. The e-mail in question ended with "Sincerely, Michelle Horan," but was not sent from Horan's student webmail account.

"This is a clear case of poor judgment on the part of the BEC," Travis said. "The BEC's argument severely hinders the ability to reconnect with students this year. This is a severe disadvantage to the other slates. I question the legality of the accusation."

According to the BEC Handbook, sending mass e-mails using university accounts is an intentional infraction. First offense intentional infractions are punishable with losing the privilege of campaigning for one week.

MSA Senate Speaker Evan Wood said he thought the postponement was in poor judgment. He said according to bylaws, the only way the election could have been suspended at this point in time would have been for technical reasons, which has caused postponement in previous years.

In the MSA bylaws, the only instance addressed pertaining to changing the MSA general election date is when there are technical issues.

"In addition, if the election cannot proceed as scheduled for technical reasons, the date of the election will automatically be moved one calendar week later (method of election as determined by the BEC) unless the Senate modifies this timeline through enactment," the bylaws state. "The BEC must notify the student body of this date changed within twenty-four hours of changing the date."

Wood said he thought it was very clear the BEC didn't have the authority to change the date at this point in time and that, as far as he understands the bylaws, the election should have proceeded as planned and retrospective action taken if necessary later this week.

"It wouldn't be the most practical solution, but it is the most legal," Wood said.

Sloan said the meetings with Travis and Horan will be held Tuesday.

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