BAC election results contested

By Gus Bode

A candidate for Black Affairs Council coordinator filed a grievance with the election commission, saying members of an opponent’s campaign were passing out fliers in the Student Center during Tuesday’s election – a violation of the group’s constitution that results in disqualification.

Kevin Winstead, the current coordinator, won the election with 304 votes to Latisha Emery’s 201. Emery filed a grievance alleging foul play, and if her complaint is validated, the results will be overturned and Emery will be next year’s coordinator.

“I had people telling me there were people campaigning for my opponent in the Student Center,” Emery said.

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Voting took place in the Student Center in front of the escalators by the University Bookstore, and candidates were prohibited from campaigning in the building. Christine Guerra, the election commissioner, spent much of her day patrolling the area, she said.

“Random checks are the best way to make sure they’re not campaigning throughout the Student Center,” Guerra said.

Although Guerra did not see any violations, another member of the council did. Tremaine White, who helped Guerra conduct the election, said he witnessed the offense.

“I was walking in the Student Center,” White said. “There were two girls standing counter-corner to McDonald’s saying ‘Vote for Kevin.'”

Winstead knows one of the two girls White saw and said she was a member of his campaign committee.

Taurian Harris, who ran for Undergraduate Student Government on Michael Burrow’s ticket and worked Tuesday as a poll worker, said he also saw foul play.

“I saw two girls passing out Tish’s [Emery’s] fliers, but they were not a part of her campaign committee,” Harris said.

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Guerra said she will conduct an investigation and may release her results as early as Saturday.

Prior to the election, Guerra informed both candidates that no campaigning was permitted inside the Student Center; she said the rules were clearly presented. Winstead and Emery said they were aware of the campaign restrictions but did not know the violations were occurring.

“I was not aware of it,” Winstead said. “I discussed all the rules with them the day before.”

The council is an umbrella organization that allocates money to 32 black student organizations. The groups projected budget for next school year is more than $30,000.

While he was pleased to receive so many votes, Winstead said if the violations are proven, he will step down.

“I want to see the election is done fairly regardless if I win or Tish,” Winstead said.

Reporter Zack Quaintance can be reached at [email protected]

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