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Election code violation reports filed against Morton-Rosenthal campaign

Several incident reports were filed against the Morton-Rosenthal campaign for the Associated Students of Colorado State University presidency as of 9 a.m. Tuesday morning.

The Silva-Wells campaign and the Kendall-Merline campaign both filed several instances that they claim document elections code violations by the Morton-Rosenthal campaign.

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According to the reports 12 fliers for the Morton-Rosenthal campaign were found in the Durward Residence Hall on each floor near the elevator and additional fliers were found in Piñon and Alpine Halls. According to elections code approval to campaign or place campaign materials within the Residence Halls must be obtained from the Office of Housing and Residence Life. 

Another report that was filed by the Kendall-Merline campaign showed the Morton-Rosenthal received social media endorsements from three CSU athletic teams: the baseball team, the hockey team and the poms team.

Other campaigns worry that this too is a violation of election code because CSU athletic teams use CSU branding. According to the elections code all registered trademark University logos may not be used without following proper University guidelines.

The Silva-Wells campaign and the Kendall-Merline campaign expressed concern that the elections committee did not respond to the incident reports with urgency. According to Cole Wise, the chief of staff for the Silva-Wells campaign, the reports were filed before 9 a.m. Tuesday morning, which he said allowed the elections committee a little over an hour before their 10 a.m. meeting to review the documents as a topic to discuss during the meeting.

“Well, (at) the elections committee meeting, that’s what they’re there for is to review the documents that they’ve received – and there were plenty of them to go around,” Wise said.

The elections committee told the Collegian a hearing about the documents will be held at 3 p.m. tomorrow, but the other campaigns believe this is too late.

“(There is) just a lack of urgency right when it’s getting down to the final time crunch,” said Christina Vessa, the campaign manager for the Silva-Wells campaign. “…This is in their hands and right now they’re refusing to let the student body know that these reports have been filed (and) they’re waiting till one hour before voting closes tomorrow (to review the incidents).”

The ASCSU elections manager Sam Barthel told the Collegian that a hearing may be held earlier than 3 p.m. tomorrow, but could not confirm this or give a specific time or place. A member of the elections committee, Tyler Siri, said the elections committee was aware of the incident reports. 

“We have those reports and we will be hearing them at the next elections committee meeting,” Siri said.

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The two campaigns said they feel the elections committee has allowed too many violations to go unnoticed throughout the course of the election.

“We are policing a campaign when there’s an election committee to do that for us,” Merline said. “Being a candidate, this is what has been my focus. I can’t interact with students because we have to be the police, the judge, the jury and the investigators. This is ridiculous that it has taken everything to pile up this much and (the elections committee) is still ignoring it.”

The campaigns said they hope that the incident reports are reviewed quickly and expressed concern that the lack of review could affect students’ votes. 

“Two campaigns that are supposed to be running against each other have come together because this is such a huge issue,” Vessa said. “… Students deserve to know that the campaigns they are considering have been in violation or not following the code that governs all other campaigns.”

However, Tyler Siri, a member of the elections committee, said he is unsure how these incident reports could affect voting and pointed out that nothing is certain.

“It depends on the violations, if they’re found guilty or if they’re not,” Siri said. “(It depends on) what those violations end up being, if there is one. There’s nothing definite.”

The Collegian reached out to Hailey Morton and her campaign manager, Tyler Atwood, for comment about the incident reports filed this morning, but Morton and Atwood refused to comment. 

Collegian reporter Haley Candelario contributed to this report. Collegian News Editor Erin Douglas and news reporter Haley Candelario can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @erinmdouglas23 and @H_Candelario98.

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