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‘Privacy’ violations unfounded by Elections Commission

II Two Student Association vice presidential contenders denied that their ticket violated voters privacy.

The SA Elections Commission from Wednesday night to Friday morning received complaints that members of Mark Anthony Quinn’s and Langie Cadesca’s ticket were watching students vote. Some reported campaigners lingering in dorms.

One complaint surfaced from Jouly Lajara’s ticket: an unidentified alumnus was holding a raffle in exchange for votes.

Minerva Daily last week requested that the Elections Commission forward complaints.  Danielle Haft, its chair, said the call would be up to Community Standards. In a text, she later clarified that the call was up to the Elections Commission with the university department’s counsel.

Accusers sent photos and videos of candidates standing around students while campaigning. The commission, however, did not consider this intrusive behavior.

“I know a lot of candidates were kind of upset by that, but we’re not, as a commission, the police of the election,” she said. “We’re here to ensure a fair and just election.”

The Elections Commission sent out a reminder of campaign guidelines to the candidates via email.

Nick Pepe,  Cadesca’s runningmate, believes the Election Commission didn’t do enough to campaigners who allegedly violated students privacy. The email wasn’t productive, he said.

During last week’s campaign, Pepe was approached by students who claimed that candidates violated their privacy.

“If someone’s just like ‘Let me see you vote’ or ‘like vote now’ or ‘ here, vote these people’ as they’re guiding them through, that’s not right,” he said. “It’s unfair and it doesn’t allow them for voters to be informed about all the candidates before making their decisions.”

He never directly mentioned the Mark Anthony Quinn or Jouly Lajara campaign, but denied members of his ticket violated campaign rules.

Vice presidential candidate Patrick Carroll, too, denied accusations against his ticket.

“Perhaps people interpreted when they heard that we had the Snapcode up on our flier that we’re making them do it right there on their phones,” said Carroll. “It’s just not true.”

Rumors also circulated that Carroll sought to eliminate the gender & sexuality department. Some students would identify him as the “homophobic vice presidential candidate” while campaigning across campus, Carroll recalled.

In a meeting with the department’s director, Hallie Landwehr, he denied such claims and insisted support for a budget bump instead.

Controversy has swirled throughout the campaign season.

A tweet by Cadesca in early February read “White people are parasites that feed off the greatness of Black culture…the sad part is we let them.” A month later, anonymous complaints over the post were sent to SA, the Albany Student Press, and the University at Albany.

Cadesca at the time said that the tweet— now deleted —has been used as political fodder. Explaining the tweet, she said the post was a “personal testament” to her previous experiences with racial profiling.

“That’s unfair. You don’t know my life story,” she said. “Don’t judge an individual off of one comment. Ask first.”

Quinn responded the tweet after the candidate’s forum in early March: “We have to be able to identify that hate words are hate words, regardless of the context.”

Earlier in the event, Lajara’s runningmate Alexander O’Leary attacked Quinn’s ticket for having a bulk of fraternity members (most of them affiliated with Phi Alpha Delta), not representing the bulk of the university’s undergraduate population. SA has held a large PAD presence for years.

Carroll fired back, citing the Lajara ticket’s lack of candidates and inexperience in SA. After the forum, he called O’Leary’s comments a “distraction.”

The Lajara ticket held on to O’Leary’s remark. They boosted it throughout campaign season. Former SA President Felix Abreu in a Lajara campaign video said, “The table’s been served but the same people keep eating.”

Lajara fell out of the race on Friday, falling behind each Cadesca and Quinn by over 2,000 votes.

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