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24 hours before polls open, campaign ban for Hogan and Alarco

By Claire Hoffman
On March 20, 2017

Yesterday, March 20, beginning at noon, the University’s Election Commission imposed a 24-hour campaign sanction on Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates Zach Hogan and Claudia Alarco. The sanction prohibits the candidates from campaigning, including cyber campaigning, and reduced their budget ceiling and poster limit. The sanction will end at noon today, March 21.

The sanction is in response to a report that Hogan and Alarco violated the Student Government Association Election Law prohibiting the “posting or distribution of campaign materials. . . in Dougherty Dining Hall, Café Nova, Donahue Dining Hall, the Law School Café, or St. Mary’s Dining Hall.” The candidates believe this report to be in response to their campaign efforts in Donahue Dining Hall last Saturday, March 18, during which they handed out donut holes to prospective voters.

“We just didn’t think we’d be running into these problems when we started our campaign,” Hogan said. “We really wanted this to be focused on us representing our community.”

Hogan and Alarco were previously reported for sliding flyers under doors in residence halls, a violation of Section 4.5D3 and Important Notices Involving Postings in the Election Laws, and placing flyers on door knobs, which while not directly a violation was counted as a violation of the law against posting flyers on doors in Section 4.5 on Posting Campaign materials and Section 4.5D1 on Residence Halls. This violation resulted in a suspension from campaigning last Friday, March 17, for six hours and a reduction in the number of posters they were allowed to keep posted.

In the most recent sanction notice, the Election Commission also reported that Hogan and Alarco violated their previous six hour campaign sanction by making social media posts during the period. Hogan and Alarco explained that these social media posts were made to move the time of a campaign rally previously scheduled during the sanction period.

When asked for comment in response to the sanctions, the Election Commission responded with the following statement:

“It is with great certainty that the Elections Commission feels we have acted with complete fairness and respect to the rules and regulations established in the SGA Election Laws.  We would like to ensure all candidates, and the entire Villanova community, that the Elections Commission has put great time, thought, and care into every decision made.  It has truly been a valuable experience working to ensure election fairness, and we appreciate the candidates’ cooperation and commitment to improving the Villanova community.”

These sanctions come as a major disappointment to the duo, who had recently begun to gain momentum in speaking to potential voters. “Our favorite part of the campaign is having real conversations with people and going beyond the surface level,” Alarco said. “We love engaging in dialogue with our community.”

Hogan and Alarco are approaching the next 24 hours with caution. “We’ve been walking on egg shells, “ Hogan said. However, they’re not going to let this snag in the road take them out of the game.

“Once the sanctions are lifted, Claudia and I are going to do what we’ve always done,” Hogan said. “We’ve brought our platform of student government to the students of being transparent, inclusive and engaging, and that’s what we’re going to continue to do.”

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