UT student withdraws complaint against Helgren-Kim campaign

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Photo Credit: Caleb Kuntz | Daily Texan Staff

The UT Supreme Court received a complaint withdrawal Wednesday from a student who filed a complaint against the Helgren-Kim campaign for early campaigning.

Government senior D’Wahn Kelley said he filed a complaint after Alexander Chase, associate editor at The Daily Texan, also filed a separate complaint against the Helgren-Kim campaign for early campaigning Feb. 7. Kelley said he thought he had evidence the Helgren-Kim campaign had engaged in early campaigning.

“It is important that the election process be fair,” Kelley said. “I brought … material that I thought the board should consider as giving an unfair advantage to a campaign.”

Kelley said his friend, who wished to remain anonymous, received emails intended for the Helgren-Kim campaign worker list but was not removed from the campaign’s LISTSERV after requesting removal. 

Kevin Helgren, student presidential candidate and neuroscience senior, said his team sends and receives many emails from their campaign address. Helgren said the team reviewed the messages in their campaign email address and could not find the email brought forth by Kelley.

“Our campaign manager manages almost exclusively our communication via email,” Helgren said. “We’re humans, and it’s possible we made a mistake.”

Kelley said his friend sent an email to the Helgren-Kim campaign stating he was not a Helgren-Kim worker and received a response email that included an offer to have an informational conversation with Helgren and Kim. According to the student government election code, campaign teams can recruit individual members of the student body to be part of their campaign team before the official campaign start date but cannot directly campaign by soliciting or asking for votes. 

The Election Supervisory Board determined the email as an attempt to solicit interest, support or a vote and ruled this action as a Class B violation. Helgren said he thinks ESB’s ruling stemmed from the language they used.

“It implied we were trying to sit this person down and swing their vote when, in reality, we gave that opportunity because we wanted to explain what our platform looks like so that person can make as informed of a decision as possible,” Helgren said.

The Court decided to hold a hearing after receiving an appeal request from Helgren and reduced the violation from Class B — a moratorium upon campaigning — to Class A, a fine.

Kelley said he filed his complaint following the first hearing of the Helgren-Kim v. Chase case and withdrew his complaint after the UT Supreme Court determined a ruling that overturned ESB’s original decision on the case.

The Kelley v. Helgren-Kim case is dismissed, and there are no penalties against the Helgren-Kim campaign.