Facing violations, Inspire Party clung to its newly won seats in UF Student Government Senate at the Elections Commission meeting Thursday evening, its future positions challenged.
The SG Elections Commission mentioned 19 violations against Gator Party. The meeting will continue Monday to discuss violations against Inspire and determine the fate of the minority party which won Wednesday night’s election with 26 Senate seats, while Gator won 24.
It was the first time Inspire won the majority of open seats in an election since its establishment in 2017.
But, Inspire faced threats of disqualification Wednesday after it was accused of violating election rules by sending a Listserv email to students encouraging them to vote in the Fall SG elections. Inspire President
Zachary Amrose said UF officials cleared Inspire of any violation.
The SG Supreme Court will decide whether Inspire will be disqualified from Fall elections, Amrose said. The date for the hearing has not been set. Inspire campaign manager Ashley Grabowski said if Inspire is disqualified, it could lose their Senate seats won in the election.
The Election Commission punished Gator for its violations with a $5 fine each.
Although the Elections Commission didn’t get to discuss the Inspire violations at Thursday’s meeting, Grabowski came to the party’s defense.
She repeatedly said Gator representatives violated campaign regulations they were aware of and should be punished with a public apology.
Grabowski submitted videos to the election commission which she said displayed Gator violating codes by leaving campaign tables unattended. Pearson said party representatives were nearby or shifts were changing at the time of the videos. The commission confirmed Gator Party violated these codes.
Branden Pearson spoke for Gator Party, repeatedly acknowledging that Gator Party violated rules.
After Grabowski’s opening statements during Gator Party’s opening statements, Pearson repeatedly requested to move onto the “punishment phase.” He requested Gator pay a $5 nominal fine for all confirmed violations.
Grabowski emphasized the importance of Gator apologizing publicly because she said the fine would not hold Gator to the same standards that other student government organizations are held to by the Department of Student Activities and Involvement.
Impact, the former majority party, appointed the people in the current elections commission. Grabowski said the commission handled Inspire unfairly, contrasting the severity of disqualification for Inspire and $5 fines for Gator.
“They’re applying different standards of proof, they’re applying different standards of evidence,” Grabowski said.
Branden Pearson speaks in defense of Gator Party against allegations of campaign violations Thursday evening at a Student Government Elections Commission meeting at the Levin College of Law. The meeting followed a contentious Senate race between Gator Party and Inspire Party.