ESB dismisses allegations of collaboration between Long and Jones-Dargahi, citing insufficient evidence

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In the final hours of runoff voting, the Election Supervisory Board dismissed allegations that Executive Alliance candidates Braydon Jones and Kimia Dargahi failed to identify a student as a worker in their campaign.

Defeated presidential candidate David Maly sent a complaint to the board late Wednesday evening, claiming that an email from re-elected Liberal Arts Representative Tanner Long, urging newly elected representatives to vote for Jones and Dargahi in the executive alliance runoff election, was a “clear collaboration between Long and the Jones-Dargahi alliance.”

“The complainant could not prove that coordination between the Executive Alliance and Tanner Long existed prior to Tanner Long’s email being sent to new ‘Officers Elect,’” the resolution read.

In Long’s email to the representatives, he encouraged the newly elected representatives to vote for Jones-Dargahi.

“These positions require the political savvy that Braydon and Kimia have already demonstrated during their past SG positions,” Long wrote. “I’m not sure I can say the same for their opponents.”

Long said he hoped the representatives would vote for, and advocate for, Jones’ campaign.

“This runoff election is more important than ever because Student Government needs legitimacy to function properly,” Long wrote. “I ask that you support Braydon and Kimia in the runoff election  I also ask you for your direct support in their effort. As representatives, we can have a lot of credibility with our constituents. And with that comes the responsibility to ensure that Student Government is as legitimate as it can be.”

Long concluded the email by saying said it was “his understanding” that Jones would be contacting them later that day to invite them to a special campaign event. Although Long and Jones said they did not discuss the event together, Maly said he believes otherwise.

“I think it’s ridiculous to say that Tanner just assumed that Braydon would be inviting these people,” Maly said. “I don’t think he would send an email to all these people, saying that Braydon was going to be contacting you to invite you to this event, unless he knew that was going to happen. I think it’s clear that collaboration took place, which would make Mr. Long a worker.”  

Long sent an affidavit to the board, stating he acted on behalf of no one but himself.

“I acted on my own accord,” Long said. “Others cannot know my own private actions unless I reveal them. I would also like to say I am flattered by Mr. Maly, who seems to believe a voice of support from me just would help to further a candidate.”

Jones said again he was not aware Long was planning to send an email advocating for his campaign.

“I have not once been in contact with Mr. Long regarding that night’s event, or I did not at any point encourage him to reach out to the reps and send an email,” Jones said. “That was all on his own will.”

Maly also said Long acted in association with Student Government, which is illegal by the Election Code. Long’s email signature read “Liberal arts representative.”

“A title does not mean I am speaking on behalf of that position,” Long said. “If that were the case, having the University of Texas on my signature line would imply I’m speaking on behalf of the University to support the candidates.”  

The board ultimately ruled there was insufficient evidence to prove a connection between Long and Jones-Dargahi.

“Therefore, let it be resolved: That after holding a hearing on the morning of Thursday, March 12, 2015, the Election Supervisory Board has determined that the burden of proof has not been met, and the complaint is being dismissed,” the resolution read.

Voting continues until 5 p.m., and results for the Executive Alliance runoff will be announced on the Main Mall at 6 p.m.