Inappropriate campaign worker complaint should be dismissed

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.