Vasquez wins; Ahmed challenges process

Ernesto Lopez and Ernesto Lopez

In what turned out to be a competivite Associated Student election, presidential candidates Beto Vasquez received 391 votes, Abdulkadir Ahmed 127 and Omar Miyazaki 106, according to the AS office on May 11.

Although Vasquez came ahead with a higher number of votes, Ahmed would challenge the process of elections due to a disqualification.

On May 5, Ahmed was disqualified from the race by Elections Commissioner Kiedra Taylor for violating election codes and guidelines, according to a letter delivered to the candidate.

Taylor did not comment on Ahmed’s disqualification.

Ahmed said he was sited by Taylor three times and even lost three days of campaigning due to the complaints filed against him.

One complaint e-mailed to Ahmed April 22 said he started “campaigning before official campaigning dates.”

Dean of Student Affairs Denise Whisenhunt said candidates were allowed to campaign starting April 26.

Another complaint e-mailed to Ahmed April 26 from Taylor said the candidate had used AS materials to create campaigning posters when it’s a violation of guidelines.”

The e-mail said Ahmed “may not put up campaign posters nor fliers until April 27.”

On May 3, the first day of voting, Ahmed was presented with a violation that stated he had drawn campaigning slogans with chalk on campus concrete; he was asked to erase them. He was not allowed to campaign the rest of that day, or until the chalk was removed.

According to the Associated Student Elections Handbook, Taylor failed to follow protocol when complaints are filed.

Clause 4, section 10 violation of the handbook states: “When presented with a violation, the Election Board must convene within 72 hours to review the complaint. At that time, the person presenting the complaint and the candidate in question must appear before the board with any witnesses.”

The clause continues, stating that “The Election Board will review the complaint, determine its merit and decide what actions should be taken at that time.” It also states, “The names of all witnesses, and or any evidence used in the hearing must be provided to the opposing side and the Election Board committee at least 24 hours prior.”

Ahmed said Taylor did not reveal to him who had filed the complaints, and she said, “they are for (her) to see and nobody else.”

“I sacrificed so much for this election,” Ahmed said. “I am not going to let it go away. I had to miss class to clean up the chalk, which is something I did not do. I was out of town at a general assembly for student government.”

On May 6, Ahmed said he filed a petition to Taylor to have his candidacy reinstated. And on May 10, City College’s Information Officer Gerald Ramsey informed Ahmed he would be reinstated as a candidate, but votes submitted for him between May 5 at 11 a.m. and May 6 at 11 a.m. would not be counted.

Taylor was unable to disclose the number of votes Ahmed lost because district office personell counts the votes submited online.

“This was a growing experience for me,” Taylor said. “Having to judge my peers is a very tough thing. I know Ahmed through other campus capacities and he’s a very active person.”

When asked to comment about the incidents, Vasquez decided not to comment.

Ahmed said he is not at peace with the decisions taken by the elections committee and hopes to continue being involved on campus.

“I accept what happened,” he said. “I am going to UCSD next year to take care of my business. I forgive everyone. I am not going to fight it. My mindset is to keep as is.”