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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Elections in flux: J-Court to hear argument for a Senior Yell Leader recount

Allison Bradshaw and Tim Lai — THE BATTALION  Senior Yell Leader-elect Steven Lanz.

If a ruling affirms an appeal claiming up to two thirds of student votes went uncounted, a recount could shake up the Senior Yell Leader ranks.
After the Judicial Court of the Student Government Association heard Lanier v. Douglas and Lanz Wednesday night, it entered deliberation of two questions from consolidated appeals regarding election results.
The first appeal, filed by Gregory Lanier, finance junior and Five For Yell campaign manager, argues Senior Yell Leader votes were miscounted and warrant a recount.
The ballot allowed each student to vote for up to three candidates, reflecting the number of Senior Yell Leader positions, but only students’ first-place votes were tabulated in the election results announced Friday, the appeal argues.
If each student had the opportunity to vote for three candidates, the number of votes tallied should significantly outnumber the number of ballots, the appeal states. With 10,811 votes counted, Lanier’s appeal said the 10,811 counted votes were inconsistent with regulations, since there was the potential for around 33,000 votes.
A counter appeal, filed by Student Senate rules and regulations chair Aaron Mitchell on behalf of Senior Yell Leader-elect Steven Lanz, argued Lanz deserved proper representation in the Judicial Court.
Election regulations say a winning candidate — if the outcome of the appeal would strip their position — should be named a defendant. Because Lanier’s appeal failed to name Lanz, the counter appeal argued it should be dismissed.
Tyler Boykin, general engineering sophomore and judicial advocate for Lanier, said there is no way to know if Lanz’s spot would change.
The court will answer two questions. First, whether the appeal was improperly filed and should be thrown out. Second, whether a recount is merited.
Emma Douglas, SGA election commissioner and a defendant in the initial appeal, said IT limitations would require a manual recount of the 11,000-plus ballots cast.
“IT has said multiple times that it’s impossible to do on the computers so we’ll have to do it manually,” Douglas said. “So to follow this rule we’d have to do it manually and the recount would have a large margin of error, and huge liabilities with interpretation issues. It’s not 100 percent verifiable, it’s not secure, there’s no way in ensuring that it’s 100 percent accurate.”
Boykin said the IT department would, in fact, be able to count the three votes on each ballot, based on a conversation he and Lanier had with the department Tuesday.
“They specifically told us they do have all the second place votes, they do have all the third place votes, they have all the fourth place, fifth place,” Boykin said. “In every single category they have the raw data — they have it compiled and it’s absolutely untrue that they wouldn’t be able to count that up.”
Lanz said he does not want to win on an inaccurate case, and he only wants to make sure he was properly represented in the court.
“I filed the appeal because I wanted to have a voice –– I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t going to have a case against me that wasn’t going to allow me to have a voice to speak on my behalf,” Lanz said. “I understand and I recognize that the votes were the way they were, or weren’t tallied the way they were supposed to be tallied, as in they were just first place votes.”
Lanier said the student body is misrepresented and expects this mistake to be made right.
“If we were to decide to dismiss this one, and then just try to fix future races and leave this one be, I think then we are dismissing 66 percent of the student body’s voice,” Lanier said.
A decision will be madev within 48 hours.

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