ASUC presidential candidate Wyatt Colby, Transfer Director Neil McClintick charged with elections violations

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Update 4/11/19: This article has been updated to reflect additional information from Neil McClintick.

Independent ASUC presidential candidate Wyatt Colby and Neil McClintick, the transfer director in ASUC President Alexander Wilfert’s office, were both charged with elections violations Tuesday.

ASUC Elections Prosecutor Jedidiah Tsang opened an investigation into Colby’s campaign March 19 after the Elections Prosecutor’s Office received a complaint that Colby’s campaign materials had been posted on a “structured feature of campus” — a Class C, or minor, violation of ASUC bylaws.

Off-limit sites for campaign materials include restricted bulletin boards, within campus buildings, on-campus vertical features or any structured or natural features of the campus, according to ASUC bylaws.

According to Tsang, Colby accepted a plea bargain to receive one censure for violation of ASUC bylaws instead of two censures. Any candidate or party that receives five censures will be disqualified from ASUC elections, Tsang added.

I accepted the plea bargain because I had violated the law and knew that it would be unfair for me to manipulate the public into thinking otherwise,” Colby said in an email.

Tsang officially opened an investigation into McClintick’s alleged violation March 22 after receiving a complaint that McClintick, a former opinion columnist for The Daily Californian, had sent out two separate accounts of “spam for campaign purposes,” referring to two email blasts sent to ASUC Senate and executive candidates encouraging them to support the Transfer Remedy Act before its initial release.

ASUC bylaws prohibit using any means of unsolicited electronic communication “spam” to campaign, including emails, messages, texts and social media.

McClintick accepted a plea bargain to receive two censures for violation of ASUC bylaws instead of four censures, according to Tsang.

He added in an email that in the case that McClintick incurs five censures, the Transfer Remedy Act will be void, given that McClintick is the referendum’s primary proponent.

McClintick said in an email that though the charges against him are “fair as per the rules,” he believes that many elections rules should be rewritten, as they are “unnecessarily stringent” and “leave little room for accommodations.”

He added in an email that though he is “relatively” familiar with ASUC bylaws, he did not realize that emailing the majority of candidates to endorse the Transfer Remedy Act was considered spam, given that the contact information for all candidates is publicly available on the official ASUC elections roster.

“The fact that two simple email mistakes could have nearly disqualified the referendum is fairly unreasonable,” McClintick said in an email. “I accept that I violated the rules, but strongly believe many rules need to be rewritten in the future.

Upon receiving a complaint, the elections prosecutor has two days to decide whether or not to officially open an investigation. In the case that an investigation is opened and notice is sent to the defendant, the elections prosecutor has seven days to decide whether or not to press charges.

The elections prosecutor, in collaboration with the defendant, also has the option to agree on a plea agreement to reduce the number of censures given. The signed plea agreement is then sent to the ASUC Judicial Council for review, after which it is approved.

“For both Wyatt and Neil’s cases, their Class C (Minor) Violations were brought down to one censure per count,” Tsang said in an email. “Neil had two separate instances of spam, explaining the two censures after the plea agreement.”

Voting for the ASUC elections closes Wednesday at 11:59 p.m.

Amber Tang is the university news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ambertang_dc.