Above photo: Mariah McQueen, junior marketing major and senate committee and policy chair, was disqualified from running in next week’s student body president race. Courtesy of Mariah McQueen
By Emily Wunderlich
Student body presidential candidate Mariah McQueen and running mate Samantha Fiore were disqualified Monday from the upcoming Student Government election for illegally obtaining signatures on their campaign packets.
The verdict came a week before campaigning was set to begin.
Student Government’s Election Rules Commission unanimously voted that McQueen and Fiore were “ineligible for candidacy based on a failure to properly complete the required paperwork.”
Additionally, the commission found McQueen and Fiore violated a statute by submitting signatures “obtained in violation of the packet rules.”
According to page 11 of the campaign packet, candidates must obtain their own signatures.
Three anonymous sources provided testimony against the candidates.
The first source alleged that McQueen held her own campaign packet as well as Fiore’s, obtaining signatures on both without Fiore being present.
Another source alleged that former Student Government senator Jonah Goodman obtained signatures for both McQueen and Fiore in the University Student Center on Feb. 7.
That source claimed that McQueen and her boyfriend, former student body president Jozef Gherman, “coerced” Goodman into “retrieving signatures on Senator McQueen’s behalf for hours,” noting that Goodman is related to Gherman.
The source said he or she confronted McQueen about her behavior in a text message, saying, “If (Supervisor of Elections) Shannon (Scanlon) finds out Jonah is getting people to sign your packets for you, you will get disqualified.”
McQueen replied, “There’s nothing in the statutes that says he can’t.”
The third source said he or she heard McQueen mention “something about someone getting signatures for her or talking to people for her.”
The names of the other candidates will be released when campaigning begins Monday, Feb. 19.
Read McQueen’s statement here.
Read the full letter from the commission’s verdict below:
IN THE ELECTION RULES COMMISSION OF THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA, ST. PETERSBURG
The Election Rules Commission 45th Term
Petitioner: Emilie Morris
Case Number: S18-001
Applicable laws involved:
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA ST. PETERSBURG STUDENT GOVERNMENT STATUTES:
2.1 To apply for candidacy, candidates must submit the following required forms in order to be put on the ballot:
2.1.1 The official application packet
2.1.2 Candidate Information Sheet
2.1.3 Buckley Waiver
2.1.4 Sign vision, mission, and values agreement sheet
2.3 Applicants shall not appear on the ballot unless all required paperwork has been received by the Elections Rules Commission and they have been certified to meet all candidacy requirements
5.1.3 Knowingly providing false information to the Student Government, the Elections Rules
Commission, or Supreme Court
Summary of Supreme Court Decision:
IN CONSIDERATION of the above-referenced student government statutes, the Election Rules Commission finds the following: The Presidential Candidate Mariah McQueen and Vice President Samantha Fiore are ineligible for candidacy based on a failure to properly complete the required paperwork for candidacy. In addition, we have found them in violation of ROP statute 5.1.3 when they submitted signatures obtained in violation of the packet rules. This decision is based on ERC authority over elections and represents a judgement on candidacy eligibility, as opposed to campaign violations due to the fact that this violation occurred prior to campaigning. Unanimous 3-0 vote by the ERC.
THE DECISION BY THE ELECTIONS RULES COMMISSION OF THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA, ST.
PETERSBURG HAS BEEN RENDERED ON THE 12th DAY OF February, 2017 (sic).
This story was updated at 12:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 13.
An earlier version of this article did not have a statement from McQueen.