Archive for March, 2009

Governor Run-offs This Week

Posted in elections on March 30, 2009 by Brandon

Another reminder: Boca and Jupiter campus voters get a second stab at picking their governors this week.

In Boca, it’s between Jamal Hamilton (624 votes originally, or 36%) and Zach Tortora (458 votes originally, or 27%).

In Jupiter, it’s between Tara Boulos (97 votes originally 36%) and Jordy Yarnell (84 votes, 31%).

Statute requires a run-off when there isn’t a winner by clear majority, which is a minimum of 50% plus one vote.

I wouldn’t be surprised if more people vote in the Jupiter run-off than the first time around, because I’ve heard from various officials it was a close race. But I won’t be surprised if that doesn’t happen, either: The presidential race is the bigger draw and a lot of people just don’t care anymore. But let me know if you hear there’s still a lot of campaigning going on.

To vote, log onto MyFAU between midnight tonight and midnight Thursday night and click over to the “Vote Now” tab. Again, you can only vote for the ballot you’ve taken a majority of your classses at. If you’re confused about which campus is your primary campus, e-mail an SG adviser.


SG Accountability? [Updated]

Posted in Thumbs Up on March 27, 2009 by Brandon

Losing student body presidential candidate Chuck Forbes, at the Boca House meeting this afternoon, followed up on his campaign commitment to SG transparency. He announced his plan to start a Facebook group that will post minutes and voting records, which may or may not be cross-posted on the SG Web site.

When this group’s formed, I’ll link it here for those interested.

Student Body President-Elect Tiffany Weimar wasn’t there and didn’t give a report. Neither was current SBP Abe Cohen, though both were present last week.

UPDATE: Forbes started the group, which can be found here. No minutes or anything yet, but a list of members and contact information is a start.

In Case You Missed It

Posted in elections on March 25, 2009 by Brandon

If you’re not the type to log into MyFAU much, or to pay any heed to its announcements:

At this time the Elections Board can definitively declare the following Spring 2009 SG Election results official:Student Government President: Tiffany WeimarStudent Government Vice President: Collene O’Reilly

Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Charles L. Brown confirmed that he did not receive any appeals of the Student Court decision to uphold the Elections Board decisions on the complaints and contestations that were originally submitted for the Spring 2009 SG Election. In addition, no fraud to the online eBallot system was found by IRM or the SG Advisors.

The SG President and Vice President will take their Oath of Office along with all of the Campus Governors during the Installation Ceremony on Monday, May 4, at 4 p.m. on the in the Live Oak Pavilion on the Boca Raton campus.

The Boca Raton and Jupiter Campus Governor Run-off elections will be held from March 31 to April 2. The current Campus Governors remain in office until May 1.

Maria Rivera & Sunil Mathews
SG Elections Board

But the Boca House, which already works with Weimar as governor, have “no confidence” in her ability to lead, per a 15-11 vote of no confidence last Friday before the results became official. While just a “non-binding opinion of her performance,” it doesn’t look good and might signal a rocky road for her ahead. Or maybe just some post-election bitterness that will clear up. We’ll see, won’t we? I’ll have a story about this in print in a couple weeks.

A separate message talks in a bit more detail about the governor run-offs, which are next Tuesday through Thursday. The candidates for Boca are Jamal Hamilton and Zachary Tortora (who ran on Weimar and O’Reilly’s ticket). The candidates for Jupiter are Tara Boulos and Jordy Yarnell.

Voting will be online only for these from what I understand, but I imagine most people do it from their own computers rather than a laptop in the Breezeway anyhow.

Same process as usual: log on to MyFAU and click over to the SG Elections tab.

Oh, and if you’re curious about how they check for fraud, I asked SG Adviser Rivka Felsher. Doesn’t seem like it would be an easy thing to assess, right? Any measure’s better than no measure, though. She said they look for improper access to the ballot pages, multiple votes from the same IP address, and check if those IPs are from university computers or personal laptops on campus.

Student Court Upholds Elections Board Decision

Posted in elections on March 21, 2009 by Brandon

Things are almost at an end.

Yesterday afternoon, the student justices met in the Majestic Palm Room with an audience of around 30 — most of whom were campaign supporters or witnesses, although other notables from Student Affairs, COSO, and GSA were present.

The meeting began 10 minutes later than scheduled as Chief Justice Burdman waited on Weimar and O’Reilly to show up.

After hearing the case from Forbes’ FRESH party and the defense from Weimar’s YOUR party, the court upheld the election board’s earlier dismissal, on all counts.

Though Chief Justice Burdman indirectly said O’Reilly was either lying or misremembered at one point, when she testified her Facebook profile picture was never a scan of a campaign flyer during the days of voting. Burdman said she was under oath and that he remembered differently, but it wasn’t pushed any further.

This decision means Weimar is one short step from the official win — the only appeal left to the Forbes ticket is one of due process to Student Affairs. Forbes didn’t say yea or nay to me on it, telling me he “was going to need some time” and when I asked Associate Dean of Students Terry Mena if he thought the ticket would appeal further, he laughed and said I was optimistic  for inferring they wouldn’t.

I’ll edit some more quotes into this post later — the batteries in my recorder have died and I want to report accurate quotes. Sorry.

Interesting stuff happened at the House meeting directly after this judicial hearing, too — more on this soon.

I Don’t Have Another Phrase That Conveys “The Election’s Still Not Over”

Posted in elections on March 18, 2009 by Brandon

If you’re having a look because you read my story in print, yeah, the election still isn’t over. The appeals process continues and Chief Justice Mike Burdman will be holding a hearing Friday at 2 p.m.

I can’t show you exactly what documents they’re going to be debating, since SG and Media Relations still haven’t provided me with the actual contestation forms, though I requested them nine days ago (when they were due to the elections board). This is what Media Relations Press Secretary Kristine Gobbo had to say about that:

The Division of Student Affairs forwarded me the documents yesterday [March 10]. I then immediately forwarded the documents to the General Counsel’s office for their review to make sure that all the information contained in the 40+ pages of documents is public. As soon as I have more information, I’ll be in touch.

She hasn’t been in touch since five days ago, when I quit bothering to harass her about it. And even if they handed it all over to me right now, I guess that averages out to the General Counsel being able to scribble out what they want on about 5 pages a day. I asked what in that information could be so dangerously unpublic, and she said “Generally, with these types of records, they are primarily concerned about the privacy of student information … home addresses, phone numbers, etc.”


That said, I have talked to the candidates and have an idea what the contestations are about. Weimar’s ticket didn’t appeal the election board’s decision to dismiss all of them, so hers are now irrelevant. For Forbes’ ticket, there were about half a dozen, and range from things like having an FAU logo on flyers and T-shirts, to storing campaign T-shirts in the BSU&MP office, to Collene O’Reilly, Weimar’s VP, campaigning on Facebook using her title of Black Student Union Director.

The question at hand for the justices isn’t whether these things are a violation or not, it’s whether there’s enough evidence to prove they happened AND that it matters votewise. The burden of proof is on the Forbes ticket, and if the evidence doesn’t stand up, then nothing happens and the presidential election comes to an official close. There’s a run-off for a couple other things, including Boca Governor, but that can’t be scheduled until this appeals process plays out, according to the SG adviser, Rivka Felsher.

If you’re read my print story (and even if you haven’t) you might be wondering why the hell Chuck Forbes is fighting so hard. I talked to him about it last week, and part of that made it into the story; the rest didn’t really fit the news angle of the story, because it’s all about him. But the psychology is still pretty interesting, at least to me. Other excerpts of that interview are below the jump, if you’re interested.

Continue reading

Yeah — It’s Still Not Over

Posted in elections on March 16, 2009 by Brandon

We’ll know Friday afternoon at the earliest if the election’s officially over.

Chief Justice Mike Burdman met with his associates this evening and discussed the contestations the election board summarily dismissed early last week. They looked at the appeal from Forbes’ ticket and the huge stack of evidential paperwork. After half an hour’s worth of paper-shuffling and reading aloud, they concluded they needed to hold a hearing.

Three justices of the five were in attendance, enough for quorum — so their decision was legit. Another was there via phone, but didn’t have any of the paperwork in front of her.

They’ll meet Friday at 2 p.m., and I’ll post when I have more information. No reaction from the candidates yet.

Meanwhile, I still don’t have all the contestations — it’s been more than a week and Media Relations hasn’t provided the paperwork, while SG refuses to. I have most of the evidence from Forbes’ ticket and I’ll try to get that up soon — they just finally gave that to me today, too. Slow-going all around, it seems.

I’ll be posting another entry soon, about why Forbes is still fighting this so hard. And look for my story in print tomorrow; I’ll link it here when it’s online.

SG Quote of the Week

Posted in elections, Rules, Uncategorized on March 12, 2009 by Brandon

“When we were campaigning, a lot of students in the House didn’t even know what the Board of Trustees was.” — Presidential candidate Chuck Forbes, in an interview about election contestations this afternoon.

The BOT is the group that makes all the major FAU policy decisions. They meet more or less monthly. Your SG president, Abe Cohen, sits on this board. If House members don’t know that, I’m not sure if that’s more Abe’s fault or their own.

I brought this up during the debate last month, too, and said when the next meeting was and, of course, I was the only student present at that next meeting, other than Abe. Oh well.

On a tangential note, I know you guys are waiting for the official election results. I’m not slacking off on the issue: I’ve been fighting with the election board, Student Affairs, and Media Relations all week over these contestations, which they wouldn’t release to me freely. I filed a public records request Monday and more than 72 hours later, they haven’t delivered. I’ll get into the details of this in a later entry.

What I can say right now is that there were several contestations from both tickets that the elections board dismissed them all, and that Forbes’ ticket appealed that decision to the student court yesterday. I’ll be in touch with the chief justice to find out what the student court decides soon, and you can look for a story from me on this drawn-out process in next week’s print edition of the UP.