The Marquette Student Government Elections Committee ruled Tuesday night that the campaign of Will Knight and Dan Bresnahan did violate election rules when one of its campaign workers sent out a text message urging recipients to vote for Knight and Bresnahan for MUSG president and executive vice president in last week’s primary election.
Knight, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, and Bresnahan, a junior in the College of Business Administration, were docked 5 percent, or 17 votes, of their primary vote total. The ticket’s new total of 326 votes moves them behind the ticket of Sam Schultz and Zach Bowman, who originally lost to Knight and Bresnahan by 7 votes in the primary with 336 votes. Schultz is a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences; Bowman is a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences.
“I think it’s disappointing to lose on a technicality,” Bresnahan said.
The committee ruled that the text message violated MUSG Election rule section 7B-8, which states that the “distribution of unsolicited mass email or electronic messages” is prohibited during a campaign.
Knight and Bresnahan talked to the campaign worker who sent out the text and to the people the text was sent to. Twenty-two recipients signed a form stating that the text was solicited.
Schultz and Bowman, who had not yet been contacted about the ruling by MUSG when they learned the result, said they are cautiously moving forward pending the outcome of a possible appeal.
“Should the ruling stand, we are excited to be back in the race,” Bowman said.
Knight and Bresnahan plan to appeal the committee ruling and the punishment handed down. They have until 6 p.m. Wednesday to file an appeal.
According to an MUSG press release on the decision, past election rule violations have resulted in vote deductions of five percent in 2008 and 10 percent in 2005.
MUSG Elections Committee Chairman Dave Kuester said he was unable to comment at this time.