MSA voting begins with Travis-Horan back on ballot

The website for online voting will remain open until 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Junior Michelle Horan listens Sunday in the Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center as members of the Student Court question her running mate and Missouri Students Association presidential candidate Josh Travis regarding three alleged infractions during their campaign. The Student Court held a hearing for the Travis-Horan presidential slate that resulted in a return to the ballot for the slate.

After a one-week delay filled with investigations and accusations, online voting for the Missouri Students Association president began at 6 p.m. Monday.

Three pairs of presidential and vice presidential candidates vie for MSA's top office: Ben Hansen and Kaitlin Oxenreider, Josh Travis and Michelle Horan and Eric Woods and Emily Moon.

The site for voting, vote.missouri.edu, opened up less than 24 hours after a ruling from the Student Court returned the Travis-Horan presidential slate to the MSA ballot.

The Student Court ruled only one of the three intentional infractions that the Board of Elections Commissioners had issued against Travis-Horan to be intentional; the other two infractions were ruled negligent. Two intentional infractions would have barred Travis and Horan from appearing on the presidential ballot.

“We made the right decision based on what we were given,” Student Court Chief Justice Lischen Reeves said.

Travis said the decision the Student Court made was a fair one.

“I’m glad that justice was found somewhere in the process,” Travis said. “We are not the crooks in this election, and that will hold true come Wednesday.”

The court overturned the BEC’s decision to rule Travis-Horan’s second and third infractions as intentional. Candidates must be found guilty of two or more intentional infractions to be removed from the MSA ballot.

“It was unfortunate that this process was drawn out so much, it disenfranchised students,” Horan said. “I’m glad it’s over. We are very excited to be back on the ballot.”

According to the court’s case one ruling, Horan’s intent behind authoring and distributing the e-mail that made its way through university e-mail listservs and resulted in an intentional infraction from MSA’s Board of Elections Commissioners was indeed intentional because the slate was aware that this action serves as a violation to the BEC Handbook and the M-Book.

During the hearing, both the BEC and the Student Court brought up the question of whether the e-mails were an act of a third party.

Sloan said Horan showed direct control over the mass e-mails.

“She initiated (the e-mails) and tried to stop it when she saw the issues at hand,” he said.

Sophomore Christina Trester was called to the witness stand by the BEC. Trester had complained about receiving the mass e-mail over her classroom list servers.

“(Campaigning) is not what the list server should be used for,” she said.

Trester also testified that a slate using the e-mail list server to support itself is crossing a line.

“My intention was for more people to vote,” Horan said. “The e-mail said 'Whether you support Travis-Horan or not, vote.’”

The Student Court found the second infraction the BEC issued Travis-Horan to be negligent.

According to the court ruling, the BEC was made aware of the PayPal account in question and other financial discrepancies. The court also found the slate committed a negligent infraction by failing to properly resubmit their financial documentation.

“We told (the BEC) we had (this PayPal) account,” Travis-Horan Campaign Manager Abhi Sivasailam said. “We were never concealing it.”

Sivasailam said he noticed a discrepancy in the slate’s PayPal account and reported it in a letter to the BEC at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 8. The amount of undocumented PayPal funds totaled to $3.

“If we were going to gain the system we would cook the books in a bigger way,” Sivasailam said.

Sivasailam also said the slate had messed up and had no problem paying a fine.

The third infraction issued to Travis-Horan concerned campaign T-shirts and was found to be negligent.

“We deliberated for quite some time on the BEC handbook,” Reeves said. “The BEC handbook is not specific enough and contradicts reasons for intentional and negligent infractions.”

The BEC made the case that Travis-Horan were buying and selling T-shirts without proper documentation.

“We didn’t think there was any reason to document this because no money traded hands,” Sivasailam said.

Originally the court found the third infraction to be intentional, Reeves said.

According to the case three ruling, in reference to the wording of the BEC handbook, the court was given no option other than to see the infraction as negligent.

Travis-Horan will be fined $100 for the negligent infractions, Reeves said.

“The story the BEC tried to cook up did not hold,” Travis said. “Now we move forward.”

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