Orr alleges unfairness in ASUA election

By Melissa Prentice

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Last year's ASUA election may have set a stronger precedent than anyone thought.

After presidential candidate Jason Wong dropped his second appeal of the 1994 Associated Students election after reaching an agreement to reform the elections codes, everyone thought there would be no more calls for second and third elections but they were wrong.

On Thursday, March 9, the day after losing the 1995 presidential election to Ben Driggs by 124 votes, Ethan Orr filed an appeal, again alleging unfairness with the elections codes.

The nine allegations of unfairness outlined in Orr's brief to the ASUA Supreme Court center around a late-night decision the first day of voting which penalized Orr for campaign violations and forced him to remove all campaign materials by noon the next day.

Orr said these sanctions were "loose interpretations of the elections codes" and "really hindered" his chances in the election. Specifically, Orr said it was unfair that he was penalized for sending letters to resident assistants and Greek houses, while a vice presidential candidate was not penalized for doing the same thing with the same mailing labels.

Orr said he is "not accusing (Driggs) of anything," but "It is unfortunate I had to lose in this manner, and it is even more unfortunate Ben had to win this way; it will be hard for him to be president," he said.

Michael Clifton-Harter, the elections commissioner, said, "Right now the election stands." He said nothing will be done with the appeal until this week.

Driggs said he is disappointed with the appeal since he was ready to begin organizing his staff right after the break and an appeal would "delay things at least a month."

Although Orr's appeal calls for a second election, he said this is not what he is ultimately asking for, since a second election is "not in ASUA or the students' best interest." But he said he is using the appeal as a "negotiating tool to ensure that the process is looked into."

"As soon as we can sit down and make progress (with the elections codes) I will repeal it," he said. He said the idea to appeal the election originated with one of his campaign staff members.

One idea Orr said he will suggest is asking political science professors who have experience working with other elections to oversee student election staff and provide more "objectivity" and "continuity."

"There is so much area to interpret it puts students in a really difficult position to be neutral," he said.

But Clifton-Harter said he thinks Orr just "wants to be in ASUA any way he can."

"Ethan is appealing this any way he can ... Whether the election is fair or not is not his main concern," he said.

Wildcat reporter Christie S. Peterson contributed to this article.

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