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pacing the void

By Amanda Riddle
Arizona Daily Wildcat
March 7, 1997

ASUA Supreme Court denies Wilson's appeal

Associated Students President Rhonda Wilson announced last night she will appeal the results of the ASUA general election, just minutes after the ASUA Supreme Court denied the appeal of her campaign suspension.

"We are giving notice that we will be appealing the results of the election and the decision by the Elections Commission in declaring the winner," said David Benton, Wilson's counsel and a third-year law student.

"We believe the commission erroneously and improperly suspended Rhonda (Wilson) from her campaign privileges," Benton said. "As a result, her ability to campaign competitively was impaired to a point that we believe it impacted significantly the outcome of the election."

Wilson's counsel must now submit an explanation of her new appeal to the court and the Elections Commission by Monday at 9 a.m. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. in the College of Law building.

Wilson, who was running for re-election, received 28.15 percent of the votes, losing to Undergraduate Senate Chairman Gilbert Davidson in Tuesday and Wednesday's general election.

Wilson's campaign privileges were suspended Monday at 10 p.m. until Tuesday at 6 p.m. after the Elections Commission said she violated campaign spending regulations.

According to a memo notifying Wilson of her suspension Monday, Elections Commissioner Anthony Hill suspended Wilson's privileges because he believed Wilson was charged a price for the printing of her campaign posters that was inconsistent with the prices paid by other candidates.

Wilson's campaign expense form showed she paid $47.11 on typeset printing for 1,000 posters from In House Printing, 1701 N. First Ave. Hill said last night that he received an estimate from Post Litho Printing, 1122 N. Stone Ave., that showed similar printing would cost $196.55.

Wilson, however, said that Hill's determination of a fair-market value for the printing was incorrect. Wilson said the price of her printing was lower because she went directly through a typesetting printer, eliminating the mark-up costs of a printing and copying vendor. Wilson also said she received the paper for her posters at no cost from her mother, who obtained the paper last June for a publication.

However, Chief Justice Dev Sethi, a third-year law student, said Wilson violated the ASUA Elections Code because she did not list the paper she used for her posters on her expense report.

Sethi said Wilson committed a technical violation of the code but did not "knowingly and willfully" violate the code.

In Wilson's testimony last night, she said she did not believe she had to list the paper because of conversations she had about "no-cost" items with Hill.

Wilson said that Hill told her items obtained at no cost did not have to be listed if they were not purchased expressly for the election.

However, the Elections Code states that any and all items obtained at "no cost" to the candidate must be available to all other candidates at no cost as well.

"Not everyone had access to Wilson's mother's paper," Hill said. "All candidates need to have access to the items from a similar source."

Wilson first appealed the suspension to the Elections Commission Tuesday at 7 a.m., but the Elections Commission denied her appeal. After the denial, Wilson made a second appeal to the Supreme Court.

She requested that the court reverse the suspension to clear her name and give her better standing to appeal the election results, Benton said.

The four present members of the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of the Elections Commission. Lupe Martinez, a second-year law student, was absent from the five-person panel.

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