The UCF Student Government Association Elections Commission ruled today video evidence showing Cortez Whatley’s SGA Presidential campaigners giving meal tickets to students using his laptop voting stations does not constitute bribery.
Fernando Gonzales, who filed the violation, contended that because Whatley’s campaign handed out meal tickets to students after they voted at his voting station — which were then redeemed at an adjacent giant truck serving catered Wackadoo’s barbecue – the campaign “bestowed or promised” a “prize, reward, gift, or favor” to students “with a view to influence the action of another to vote, not vote, or vote for or against a particular candidate/ticket and/or any other item on the ballot, in any way” — an action prohibited by UCF election statutes.
But the elections commission disagreed, voting down the election violation submitted by Gonzales by a vote of 0-8.
During the hearing, Whatley’s side denied they violated statutes, arguing the main point of the tickets was simply to track the amount of voters. Gonzales also showed video of a KnightNews.com interview with Whatley’s Vice Presidential candidate, Rachel Brill, where she said the food was there to motivate students to vote as part of his evidence.
See the KnightNews.com interview with Brill entered into evidence:
Video from UCF Knightly News showing tickets apparently being given to voters was also entered into evidence. No evidence from the Central Florida Future’s SGA coverage was submitted.
KnightNews.com doesn’t know who paid for the giant Wackadoo’s truck full of food, because UCF administrators allow SGA candidates to keep their campaign spending records secret. Florida State University, on the other hand, requires disclosure of campaign finance — a standard practice at elections of all levels across the country.
SGA does thousands of dollars in business with Wackadoo’s during the year.
Check back later for video from today’s hearing.