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.
Looking back on our earlier assessment, we realize it might have been premature to call this election season unusually quiet. We should have known that it would go out not with a whimper, but with a bang.
With the runoff for Student Government president and vice president wrapping up Thursday, an Election Supervisory Board hearing was held to consider a complaint by defeated candidate David Maly about a supposed breach of the election code.
At issue, Maly contended, was whether recently re-elected Liberal Arts Representative Tanner Long’s sending an email endorsing candidates Braydon Jones and Kimia Dargahi should have required them to list him as a campaign worker.
Long was never registered as such.
And why should he have been?
Maly correctly cited the Student Government Election Code’s definition of a campaign worker in his complaint: “any person that contributes time, effort, or service for the purposes of supporting or furthering a candidacy in which they coordinate with a candidate or member of a candidate’s campaign staff.”
But there are two serious problems with his argument that Jones and Dargahi were skirting the rules.
First and foremost, he presented no evidence at Thursday’s hearing that Long coordinated with anyone on Jones and Dargahi’s staff to create the email. He instead repeatedly asserted that any such display of support must require collaboration.
That leads us to our second point: To arrive at such a sweeping conclusion requires a perversion of the normal meaning of “coordinate,” a perversion that could start future election seasons down a slippery slope. If every expression of support for a candidate triggered registration with the ESB, that could theoretically mean requiring campaigns to list thousands of campaign workers, an impossible task.
Separately, in his complaint, Maly alleged that Long abused his power as an SG representative by sending out an endorsement email with his SG signature. Maly explained that he saw this flourish as tantamount to an endorsement in Long's official capacity as an SG representative.
That argument is absurd on its face. Long used his normal email signature to identify himself, and it takes a quantum leap of logic to proceed from there to Maly’s interpretation.
Given that there are no grounds for his complaint, we urge the ESB to dismiss all charges.
With less than a day left in the Student Government runoff election, defeated presidential candidate David Maly filed a complaint against Braydon Jones and Kimia Dargahi, alleging they failed to declare one of their campaign workers to the Election Supervisory Board.
Tanner Long, who was re-elected as Liberal Arts Representative last week, sent an email to newly elected Assembly members Saturday and urged them to vote for Jones and Dargahi in the Executive Alliance runoff election. Maly said he believes Long’s action is tantamount to acting as an official campaign worker, although Long was never registered as such.
In the complaint, Maly said failing to list Long as a worker was a clear violation of the Election Code.
“The email indicates a clear and obvious coordinated connection between Long and the Jones campaign, as Long issued a formal invitation to a campaign-specific function on behalf of the candidates,” Maly said.
Long, a government senior, told The Daily Texan that he asked the SG Judicial Court whether newly elected representatives could endorse Executive Alliance candidates before he sent the email. The court told him endorsements were allowed, as long as he made it clear he did not speak on behalf of SG.
Long said he sent the email on his own accord and said he is not a campaign worker for Jones-Dargahi.
“I wasn’t endorsing them on behalf of Student Government,” Long said. “I think that might have been misunderstood. It was an individual endorsement, [but] it was an unintentional consequence of it.”
The board will conduct a hearing at 10 a.m. Thursday to resolve the complaint. Voting for Executive Alliance runoffs continues Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Results will be announced at approximately 6 p.m. on the Main Mall.
In a hearing Wednesday night, the Election Supervisory Board penalized Executive Alliance candidates Xavier Rotnofsky and Rohit Mandalapu for failing to disclose the purchase of roses, Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies and Lunchables on their campaign finance forms. Defeated presidential candidate David Maly said he now intends to ask Dean of Students Soncia Reagins-Lilly and the Student Government Judicial Court to investigate the possibility of election fraud.
Although Rotnofsky and Mandalapu will not be required to pay a fine, their campaign spending limit will be reduced by 10 percent, or $102, from their original $1,020 limit.
“The Election Supervisory Board has determined that the Rotnofsky-Mandalapu campaign did fail to disclose the cost of New Jersey pink roses, brownies, and lunchables given out to candidates at the candidate debate, and this failure to report shall result in a Class A violation and levy of a 10% fine,” the board’s resolution read.
Maly, who filed the complaint, said he inquired about Rotnofsky and Mandalapu’s financial disclosures after the SG debate last week. During the debate, Rotnofsky and Mandalapu served snacks to the debate moderators and to the other candidates, including Maly, and also gifted each with a “New Jersey pink rose.”
Maly said he was not satisfied with the ESB’s handling of the complaint. He alleges that Rotnofsky and Mandalapu originally disclosed the cost of the Lunchables, but not the roses or the Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies. Although the cost of the Lunchables was deleted from the disclosure documents after what a board member described as an "administrative error," Maly said he believes Rotnofsky and Mandalapu clearly understood that all three items, which add up to less than $30, should have been disclosed. Further, Maly said, he believes the Lunchables' removal from the document was "no accident."
Maly said at the hearing, Rotnofsky and Mandalapu repeatedly claimed they didn't realize any of the purchases should be disclosed, and therefore did not disclose them, though records show they did originally include the Lunchables.
“I think it’s clear that there’s fraud going on,” Maly said.
Rotnofsky said he did not realize the under-$30 purchase would count as a campaign cost because he gave the brownies and flowers to the other candidates to be nice.
“It was as a gesture of goodwill to the other candidates and moderators because it was going to be a long debate,” Rotnofsky said. “It was not to advance our campaign or our campaign prospects.”
According to their campaign finance documents, Rotnofsky and Mandalapu have spent a total of $53.88 on their campaign — for two domain names and six bags of Hershey’s Kisses. Mandalapu said adding the New Jersey pink roses, Lunchables and brownies to their expenses would still put them at under one-fifteenth of the total allotted spending amount.
Student Government Executive Alliance candidates Xavier Rotnofsky and Rohit Mandalapu will attend an Election Supervisory Board hearing Wednesday night for failing to claim the purchases of brownies and fake roses on a financial disclosure form.
The candidates performed a gag at the SG debate last week where they served the other candidates snacks and gifted each candidate a rose.
Former SG presidential candidate David Maly filed the complaint, saying he inquired about Rotnofsky and Mandalapu’s financial disclosures, specifically regarding the snacks and roses they served at the debate.
Maly said he also sent emails to ESB Chair Nick Molina, asking whether the alliance had filed receipts of the specific purchases with the ESB.
“I then inquired about the receipts via email and received an email back Monday night saying they had just been posted,” Maly said in the complaint. “No receipts for brownies or fake roses were included.”
Rotnofsky and Mandalapu are candidates in a runoff election against Braydon Jones and Kimia Dargahi. Voting takes place Wednesday and Thursday, and results will be announced at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Main Mall.
Student Government Executive Alliance candidates Braydon Jones, second from left, and Kimia Dargahi, far left, will compete against fellow candidates and Texas Travesty editors Xavier Rotnofsky, second from right, and Rohit Mandalapu, far right, in a runoff election next week as neither alliance received over 50 percent of the vote.
After a University-wide Student Government election in which no executive alliance ticket captured over 50 percent of the vote, candidates Braydon Jones and Kimia Dargahi will enter a runoff election against Xavier Rotnofsky and Rohit Mandalapu.
The Jones-Dargahi alliance received 46.34 percent of the student vote, and Rotnofsky-Mandalapu received 26.9 percent. The other two executive alliances on the ballot, David Maly and Steven Svatek and Baylor Morrison and Matthew Normyle, received a combined total of 26.74 percent.
Student Government presidential candidates Xavier Rotnofsky and Braydon Jones walk into the election room, hand-in-hand. Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff
“We’re not as nervous anymore,” Rotnofsky, associate editor at humor publication Texas Travesty, said. “Surprised, for sure. … I’m pretty sure this has been the most successful [Texas Travesty] campaign ever. Travesty alumns have reached out to us and said they loved the campaign. That’s been the best reward.”
The Texas Travesty, a humor publication, enters a team in SG elections each year.
Jones, who has described himself as the candidate with the most Student Government experience, said he is optimistic about his team’s odds for the runoff election.
“Our numbers looked great the first time,” Jones said. “We’re going to do exactly what we’ve been doing.”
Nicholas Molina, Election Supervisory Board chair, said it was difficult to predict the results of the Executive Alliance race in advance.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a surprise,” Molina said. “[Both teams have] been campaigning so well.”
According to Molina, 9,108 votes were cast in the election, an increase of 14 percent in voter turnout over last spring.
Arjun Mocherla, an agent on Jones and Dargahi’s campaign, said the run-off will allow more time to get student input for their platform.
“Obviously, we’d love to win [the election] straight out, but Xavier and Rohit are hilarious guys,” Mocherla said. “This is a great opportunity to continue to meet students on campus and see what students need.”
Texas Travesty editor-in-chief Chris Gilman said he attributes Rotnofsky and Mandalapu’s success to reaching out to smaller and more diverse groups of students.
“I think they’re taking all the right moves,” Gilman said. “They’re talking to all the right people … and taking it day-by-day.”
Maly-Svatek received 1,161 votes, and Morrison-Normyle received 1,009. Morrison-Normyle said Sunday they were going to withdraw from the race, but, according to Molina, the duo never officially removed themselves from the ballot.
“I’ve heard two people say they were confused about why Baylor and Matthew were still on the ballot … that those thousand would have turned the election,” Molina said. “The correct answer for that, is that even though Baylor [Morrison] and Matthew [Normyle] expressed to [The Daily Texan] that they were dropping out, they never officially dropped out.”
Jones said Morrison-Normyle being on the ticket may have impacted the results.
“With Baylor and Matthew withdrawing and still being on the ballot, some people may have gotten confused and messed up the numbers,” Jones said.
Morrison said he does not think having his and Normyle’s name on the ballot affected the outcome of the election and said that he was pleased with the results.
“I don’t think it affected the vote,” Morrison said. “It’s the happiest I’ve ever been for fourth place.”
Maly congratulated the runoff teams and said he enjoyed campaigning for the election.
“It was an interesting race and a good learning experience,” Maly said.
Jones-Dargahi and Rotnofsky-Mandalapu will be allowed to spend an additional $150 each on campaigning. The two teams will compete in the runoff election March 11–12.
For a full list of election results, check out our infographic:
Xavier Rotnofsky and Rohit Mandalapu compete in the executive alliance debate against candidates David Maly, Steven Svatek, Braydon Jones and Kimia Dargahi in the Union Ballroom on Monday night.
Welcome to The Daily Texan's election night live blog. Throughout the night, we will provide updates on the campus-wide Student Government elections. To learn more about the candidates, check out Student Elections Explorer.
10:00 p.m. – The results are in:
7:30 p.m. – Because no one ticket captured more than 50 percent of the vote, there will be a runoff election for Executive Alliance between Rotnofsky-Mandalapu and Jones-Dargahi. Jones-Dargahi received 46.34 percent of the vote and Rotnofsky-Mandalapu received 26.9 percent. The other two executive alliances on the ballot, Maly-Svatek and Morrison-Normyle, received a total of 26.76 percent.
Jones-Dargahi and Rotnofsky-Mandalapu will campaign for six more days before the runoff election March 11-12. Each team will be allowed to spend an additional $150 on campaigning.
"We're not as nervous anymore," Rotnofsky said. "Surprised for sure. This has been the most successful. I’m pretty sure this has been the most successful [Texas Travesty] campaign. Travesty alumns have reached out to us and said they loved the campaign. That’s been the best reward."
Jones said he is optimistic about his team's odds for the runoff election.
"Our numbers looked great the first time," Jones said. "We're going to do exactly what we've been doing."
Election Supervisory Board Chair Nick Molina said it was difficult to predict the results of the Executive Alliance race.
"I wouldn’t necessarily say its a surprise," Molina said. "[Both teams have] been campaigning so well."
7:07 p.m. – Liberal Arts representatives are Jenny McGinty, Tanner Long, Connor Madden, and Sammy Minkowitz. Claire Smith wins the race for The Daily Texan editor-in-chief. Engineering representatives are Gregory Ross, Edward Banner and Joshua Richardson.
7:01 p.m – Election Supervisory Board Chair Nick Molina said 9,801 people voted in the campus-wide elections this year, an increase of 14 percent from last year.
"I want to thank all 74 of the candidates who ran in the campus-wide elections this year," Molina said.
First results are announced, University Co-Op Board of Directors seats go to Cameron Kerl and Dana Le. Graduate Student Assembly winners are Brian Wilkey and Vance Roper.
6:55 p.m. – With five minutes until elections results are announced, Jones said if he wins, he will talk to the other Executive Alliance teams to discuss their platforms. Rotnofsky said if his team wins, he will demand a recount. Maly said he and Svatek will work to accomplish every goal on their platform.
6:41 p.m. – The three Executive Alliance teams – Braydon Jones and Kimia Dargahi, David Maly and Stephen Svatek, and Xavier Rotnofsky and Rohit Mandalapu – enter the assembly room. Election Supervisory Board Chair Nick Molina said results could be announced any time between now and 7 p.m.
6:28 p.m. – The Election Supervisory Board arrives and directed bystanders to take seats at the front of the room. Supporters of Braydon Jones and Kimia Dargahi are chanting fellow Executive Alliance team David Maly and Stephen Svatek's slogan, "SG for all."
Kevin Helgren, a candidate for University-wide representative, said he's more nervous than excited to hear the election results.
"I'm a little bit excited, but more nervous ... it's after 5, so we did what we could," Helgren said.
6:20 p.m. – With 10 minutes until election results are released, students and candidates are waiting outside the Legislative Assembly Room in the Student Activity Center. Doors are set to open at 6:30 p.m.
David Maly and Stephen Svatek, presidential and vice presidential candidates for executive alliance, are plugged in to a number of outlets on campus.
Maly, a journalism and economics senior, is involved in several journalism publications on campus, and Svatek, a civil engineering junior, is involved in Longhorn Band and other organizations in the Butler School of Music.
“I’ve been heavily involved in campus activity during my time here, mostly through journalism, and I’ve been able to dig heavily through different areas of campus,” Maly told the Texan earlier this month. “I’ve learned a lot about … the issues at UT.”
Maly, editor-in-chief of the Horn and the Odyssey, said he has covered Student Government extensively during his time as a journalist on campus.
“I think journalism is so important,” Maly said. “It exposes really important issues in our society, and in that way promotes dialogue and change, and so I think that big positive impact it can have — that’s why I like it so much.”
For Svatek, UT’s traditions have molded his experience at the University.
“Both of my parents came here — I’m a second generation Longhorn,” Svatek said. “A lot of the things that they tell me about Longhorn Band are things that are still going on … they went here in the ’80s, and to see 30 years later … those traditions are still alive.”
On top of its tradition, Maly said he thinks UT can offer students educational and post-graduate opportunities no other University could.
“I feel like you can do almost anything if you’re willing to put the work in and really pursue the right things,” Maly said.
Maly said Svatek has proven to a be a good friend and vice presidential candidate, especially with his knowledge of the University.
“He always tries to do the right thing,” Maly said. “He’s a really good friend, if you need anything he’s always there.”
Svatek’s long-time friend Elric Martinez said Svatek has been a reliable friend throughout the years.
“He’s a very, very hard worker, way harder than most people I know,” Martinez said. “He is empathetic. He’ll do anything for his friends.”
Maly has also been an admirable friend, according to Svatek.
“He sacrifices a lot,” Svatek said. “If I ever need something … he already has so much on his plate. Time isn’t really an issue for him. He’s really willing to give and sacrifice himself for others.”
Maly said he has a longhorn tattoo, and his favorite movie is “Anchorman.” Although he said he likes to have fun, he also is dedicated to making a change in the world through his journalism.
“I’m someone that will always help other people out, someone who can have fun and someone who is trying to reach their goals,” Maly said.
Maly’s and Svatek’s campaign, “SG for All,” is based off of the idea of making SG a more transparent and inclusive organization. Their platform points include making transferring between colleges easier, implementing a year-round 24/7 Perry-Castañeda Library and securing the future of SG initiatives, such as Safe Ride and uRide, transportation programs for students.
“We’re working to communicate our ideas as publicly as possible and make ourselves as available as possible,” Maly said. “We’re going to try to talk to all students.”
To read the candidate profile for Braydon Jones and Kimia Dargahi, click here.
To read the candidate profile for Xavier Rotnofsky and Rohit Mandalapu, click here.
During the last week of campaigning, Student Government executive alliance candidates Braydon Jones and Kimia Dargahi expressed contradictory opinions about “Campus Carry” legislation in interviews with the College Republicans and the University Democrats.
Campus Carry, a bill under consideration in the House and Senate, would allow concealed handguns into campus buildings if the holder has a concealed handgun license.
In Jones and Dargahi’s interview, College Republicans president Amy Nabozny said the two candidates said, if Campus Carry was to become law, they would prefer schools get a choice as to whether Campus Carry is enacted. In a questionnaire for University Democrats, the alliance said, “We stand wholeheartedly in opposition to concealed carry on campus.”
Following the interview, Jones emailed College Republicans and said he supports Campus Carry.
“To be short, I do oppose Campus Carry in the definition of allowing any student to carry a weapon on campus; however, (as mentioned last night) I do think this is an area where it’s ‘grey’ and not black and white,” the email said. “I do support students with [CHLs’] ability to carry, as they have received training and adequate testing to carry firearms. That being said, I also believe in the importance of UTPD — and entrusting these men and women who serve to protect students to do their job.”
Nabozny said the group knew it could not endorse Jones this year after he fast-tracked a bill in opposition to Campus Carry through SG.
“After speaking to our members and then reading their UDems survey, it was clear they were pandering to both groups,” Nabozny said.
Jones and Dargahi are currently considered front-runners in the Executive Alliance race. In a Daily Texan opinion poll, the candidates amass 56 percent of the total online votes, with 2,987 votes at the time of publication.
At the SG candidate debate Monday, Jones said he opposes Campus Carry since the University is also opposed to the bill.
“Right now, the University of Texas administration, as well as the University of Texas System, [does] not support Campus Carry,” Jones said. “Until there is a large amount of students that think otherwise, I would be more than happy to sit down with students that think that, but I think it’s in the best interest of the University to support the administration.”
The other two alliances, Xavier Rotnofsky and Rohit Mandalapu, and David Maly and Steven Svatek, said they were completely opposed to Campus Carry.
“We feel like more guns on campus makes campus less safe, therefore we would want to advocate against it as student body president and VP,” Maly said.
Rotnofsky and Mandalapu, candidates who have been running a mostly satirical campaign, said at the debate they wanted to reverse their position on Campus Carry.
“Can we also backtrack our answer?” Rotnofsky said. “We’re for guns.”
Jones and Dargahi were the only executive alliance candidates that interviewed for an endorsement. Maly was present at the meeting and left before he could interview. College Republicans did not endorse a candidate this year.
Update: Since this story's original publication, Baylor Morrison and Matthew Normyle withdrew from the Executive Alliance election, citing competing time commitments. To read more about their decision, click here.
Campaigning began Wednesday morning for Student Government Executive Alliance, but the West Mall was void of flyers, yelling and promotional materials.
The candidates for president and vice president — Braydon Jones and Kimia Dargahi, David Maly and Stephen Svatek, Baylor Morrison and Matthew Normyle, and Xavier Rotnofsky and Rohit Mandalapu — have instead expressed a desire to gather student opinion and include more student groups in conversation during the initial stages of the election.
Click here to view our interactive database of all campus-wide candidates and their platforms.
Jones, a government senior, and Dargahi, an international relations and global studies and Middle Eastern studies senior, said their platform will not be solidified until they sit down with students and hear what students want to be changed on campus. Jones, who currently serves as SG speaker of the assembly, said the campaign, called “Let’s Talk,” is focused on talking with students and not getting their names out just yet.
“The big thing we want to do is listen,” Jones said. “We want to start a conversation, hear what students want and watch their platform become our platform.”
The duo’s platform points include working to strengthen tradition on campus, helping students “build bridges” for the future and increasing social advocacy and safety.
Maly, an economics and journalism senior, and Svatek, a civil engineering junior, are focusing their campaign on transparency, which Maly said begins as early as the campaigning process.
“I feel like a lot of students don’t know how Student Government works, what it does, how to get involved [and] if they can get involved,” Maly said.
Their other platform points include easier transfers between colleges at the University, advocacy for lower tuition, easier transportation from Riverside to campus, and keeping the Perry-Castañeda Library open 24/7.
Rotnofsky, a Plan II and linguistics senior, and Mandalapu, a Plan II and economics senior — who are both involved in the satirical publication Texas Travesty — said their campaign will focus on reaching out to the smaller groups on campus.
Their platform includes turning the UT Tower into premium student condominiums, promising that President William Powers Jr. will no longer be president by the end of the semester, and increasing transparency by mandating that all SG representatives wear cellophane instead of clothes. Mandalapu said the real point of the campaign is to make students realize that anyone can run for SG.
“We’re making a joke out of it, but we’re taking it very seriously,” Rotnofsky said. “We’re all about the campaign, and we’re all about Student Government. You have to love the thing you satirize.”
Morrison, an economics junior, and Normyle, an electrical engineering senior, said their campaign will focus more on spreading their names by word-of-mouth and social media. Both students are involved with Camp Texas.
“We’re funny, personal guys, [and] we’re lighthearted guys,” Morrison said. “We want to [make Student Government] more approachable, more accessible. Humor is something we’re going to use a lot in our campaign, but we’re in it to win it.”
Normyle said the campaign started as a joke, but now he said they are all in. Normyle said the team is going to use its “outsider” status to reach groups on campus.
The candidates will participate in a debate among their competitors March 2. Elections will take place March 4–5.
This article misstated the date of the debate and the dates of the election. It has since been updated.