The independent news organization of Duke University

DSG Judiciary halts release of election results because of 'election violation' from Kristina Smith's campaign

DSG election results won't be released until after Spring Break.

Early Friday morning, senior Dev Dabke, chief justice of the Duke Student Government Judiciary, informed DSG Attorney General Shreya Bhatia, a sophomore, that the Judiciary agreed on an injunction that would prevent the release of the election results after voting ended due to an "election violation." On Thursday, Bhatia and the Board of Elections decided that junior Kristina Smith's campaign violated an election rule and docked 200 votes from the tally of voters who ranked her first.

Smith's campaign filed a petition to appeal Bhatia's decision. The appeal's process will occur after Spring Break. 

"My team disagrees with the ruling of the Board of Elections, and we are appealing the charge on procedural and statutory grounds," Smith wrote in a statement. "While a delayed result is not ideal, I want to emphasize how proud I am of my team for running a clean campaign. I want to make sure the record is set straight."

The rule allegedly violated was Section 6 of the Election Rules and Procedures 2017-2018, which says that while polls are open, students cannot solicit votes "while possessing any laptop, tablet, or similar electronic device that can access the ballot." 

Bhatia added that she and the board of elections used the precedent of Geng v. Adair in making the decision. In that case, the DSG Judiciary agreed with then-Attorney General Annie Adair's decision to dock 328 votes from Gwen Geng, then-candidate for chair of the Student Organizations Finance Committee. 

"The Geng case was used to determine how many votes to dock—it established the precedent that the number of contacts made should be used to determine vote docks, rather than perhaps the number of voters," Bhatia wrote. "We calculated the number of contacts made based off of number of voters in contact with the candidate’s team during the given time period and number of contacts made per person."

The Geng decision was crucial because it made the final vote tally 991-914 votes in Geng's opponent's favor.

Check back for updates on this developing story.


Share and discuss “DSG Judiciary halts release of election results because of 'election violation' from Kristina Smith's campaign” on social media.