SGA confirms legitimacy of presidential petitions

Many UVM students may be familiar with the breaking news and gossip website, known as UVM Little Bird.

Recently anonymous allegations were made on the website which stated that “SGA sources” had informed the breaking news site that certain names on the SGA presidential candidates’ petitions for ballot were either “forged,” “fake names” or “names of unwilling people.”

The process that this was referring to was that in order for a student to become eligible to be added to the SGA election ballot they must turn in their election platforms along with a petition consisting of 500 student signatures before a certain date, according to SGA’s website.

The anonymous allegations stated that a number of these signatures were not in line with official SGA standards, according to the UVM Little Bird website.

“It would be urged that the SGA follow up this investigation with cross checking the names on the forms with the actual UVM student body to ensure that candidates hadn’t lied their way into the race,” the anonymous report stated. “The UVM students deserve a fair race.”

However, members of the SGA said that there is no truth to these accusations and that the petitions are screened thoroughly.

“I’m sure that every organization is not perfect, but I would rather focus on doing work for students rather than nitpicking how students got to their respected goals. We are a recognized UVM organization, UVM Little Bird is not,” senior and SGA president Connor Daley said.

Daley also said that the SGA has not received any official complaint or accusation of corruption in the election process.

“No one has formally reached out to us,” junior and SGA speaker of the senate Kevin Conlon said. “Traditionally Little Bird is an organization that makes false allegations. They don’t really follow up with what they’re doing.”

The petitions are checked and verified by members of the SGA prior to a candidate’s name being added to the official ballot.

‘”When candidates pass them [petitions] in, I look over them typically, or someone else looks over them,” Conlon said. “Obviously not everyone’s signature is completely legible. It’s a difficult process. What I do is look for is legitimacy. If I see something weird then I’ll ask about it. You can kinda tell if someone is bullshitting you at that point.”

Some candidates typically hand in their petitions prior to the deadline, in which case Conlon said that he will look them over as a “courtesy” and if there is something wrong, or names are missing he will let the candidate know so that they have time to fix it.

“You’ll see with Aya’s [Al-Namee] petition one line was unintentionally left blank and there was another line that was also left blank, so I obviously checked that. There was also some signatures that would extend onto another line,” he said.

However, since the petition was turned into Conlon in advance the blank spaces were able to be legitimately filled out prior to the petition deadline, Conlon said.

“The SGA would never admit it,” UVM Little Bird stated. “Who knows if they even have the election packets now? If they did somehow fudged the race, they’re clever enough to destroy any evidence by now.”

These allegations of fraud are “simply not true,” Conlon said.

“As far as we’re concerned they said that the SGA is committing fraud and that we have destroyed these petitions by now to hide it,” he said.  “But they’re still here to view. Nothing is covered up.”

Conlon said he believes that there is “probably a sketchy name” in every packet. But that every election process is different and it’s “all about how much effect it has on the actual election.”

“As long as they all look relatively the same and filled out. It is simply a barrier to entry as far as the presidency and vice presidency go,” Conlon said.

“Aya [Al-Namee] still won with over 100 votes, so clearly that is what the students wanted,” he said.