Sorority directed support for certain candidatesBy Amanda Peterson | 03/10/2010 12:11am
Elections Board officials refused to comment Tuesday about an e-mail sent to members of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority telling members they were required to vote and directing them to vote for certain candidates.
Sorority President Chelsea Levi sent the e-mail, provided to The Crimson White on Tuesday, shortly after midnight Monday through the chapter’s listserv. It told members to remember to vote for a name on a poster in the sorority’s chapter room.
The e-mails also says sorority members should “especially support” James Fowler and Aaron Zucker, who both won races Tuesday for SGA president and vice president for academic affairs, respectively.
“Don't forget to only vote for the senator in YOUR college, and to vote for the name that will be on a posterboard [sic] in the chapter room,” the e-mail says. “Otherwise, they will throw out your entire ballot.”
The e-mail also says that voting is mandatory for sorority members, and required them to provide proof to the sorority that they voted.
“You must forward the confirmation e-mail you receive after you vote to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, or Morgan Sellers (a sorority member) will be calling you to make sure you vote,” the letter says. “Just make it easier on yourself, and vote early in the day and send her the email.”
In an e-mail responding to questions from The Crimson White, Levi said that statement about throwing out ballots was only warning members not to mistakenly cast a ballot for a senator running in another college other than that in which the voter studies.
But the University’s online ballot for SGA elections does not allow students to vote for Senate candidates from another college, only those in the college in which they are studying toward their primary major.
Levi also said sorority members are required to vote as part of civic duty.
“Just as we make it mandatory for our women to attend community service events and donate items to those less fortunate than us, we ask that they vote in the SGA elections every year,” she said.
When reached by phone, Sellers, the person to whom sorority members were told to provide proof of voting, denied the e-mail existed.
She said sorority members were not required to vote or vote for a specific candidate.
Nicole Bohannon, a member of Alpha Gamma Delta and the new SGA executive vice president-elect, said the sorority only encourages its members to vote.
“We don’t require our girls to vote for a particular candidate,” Bohannon said. “We encourage them to vote because it’s so important.”
Elections Board: No comment
The Crimson White on Tuesday provided copies of the e-mail to the Elections Board and UA administrators. Through a spokeswoman, UA President Robert Witt and Vice President for Student Affairs Mark Nelson deferred comment to the Elections Board, which oversees the conduct of SGA elections.
Kelli Knox-Hall, a UA staff member who is a member of the Elections Board, said the board met Tuesday to discuss violations of election rules, but she declined to elaborate, citing federal student privacy laws.