Mark Lombardi-Nelson and Christa Hegedus received more votes than opponents Jimmy Richards and Jordan Iuliucci in the campaign for the Student Government presidency, but have been disqualified for breaking campaign rules.
“Due to violation assessments affirmed by the [Election Rules Commission], the Mark Lombardi-Nelson/Christa Hegedus campaign has been disqualified. The campaign reserves the right to appeal any points assessed by the ERC in a trial with the Supreme Court,” the USF St. Petersburg’s Supreme Court ruled.
Lombardi-Nelson and Hegedus, respectively the current SG president and senate chair, were cited for numerous violations. They included not removing flyers that offered voters 10 percent off at The Tavern in time after being asked, plagiarizing famous quotations on Facebook, using materials funded through activities and services fees to campaign, and not following guidelines for T-shirts and printed materials. A copy of the violations and points assessed can be found here.
Candidates are assessed points for each rule they break, generally three points per violation. Accruing 10 points or more leads to an automatic disqualification.
“I’m sure that they will appeal it,” Richards, the current student body vice president, said in an online interview. “However, I do not think that any of their points will be taken away. If anything, I wouldn’t be surprised if they got more points.”
He said his opponents had plagiarized quotations a total of four times, and thus deserves more points.
In an online interview, Lombardi-Nelson said he would fight the charges.
“The students have spoken, and the processes and procedures carried forward were not just,” he said. “We will fight, and we will do what is in the best interest of the students. We are staying positive because that is what we have done the entire time.”
SG clerk Andrea Inman said the campaign had not requested a trial with the Supreme Court as of 3:50 p.m. on Friday evening. But Lombardi-Nelson said that the points were invalid because they weren’t assessed until three hours after the election — even though the rules state they must be given while the election is ongoing.
“We’re still figuring everything out,” he said.
The Richards/Iuliucci ticket was assessed two points for failing to include the title and year of the election on campaign materials. A copy of that grievance is available here.
Preliminary numbers showed the Lombardi-Nelson/Hegedus ticket received 233 votes, while the Richards/Iuliucci ticket received 125. Seventeen senators were also elected, including Thomas Hamby, Sophia Constantine, Lauren Snodgrass, Christina Johnson, Franklin Alves, Bill Milazzo, Joey Vars, Allan Pinkerton, Frank Mathis, Steven Bird, Danielle Freeman, Jozef Gherman, Deborah Guyton, Damani Harris, Taylor Adams, Cory Santero and Joey Kauderman.
A constitutional amendment changing future years’ election dates also passed by a wide majority. Preliminary vote totals for all elections are available here.
The Crow’s Nest will update as more information becomes available.
Photo by Thomas Boyd