A verdict is pending in the first appeals case of the University’s spring elections. In the case of Chante Sessomes v. the Florida A&M University Electoral Commission, Chief Justice Kendra Rich ordered the commission to turn over all the ballots of the junior class to the judicial branch for further review.
Ashlee Lewis, defense counsel for the plaintiff, called five witnesses to the stand Tuesday evening to make statements testifying that they observed flawed ballots or inappropriate conduct during the election process.
Danielle Kennedy, a sophomore pre-nursing student, gave a sworn testimony that Sessomes’ name was not on the ballot for the junior attendant that she received at her assigned precinct.
As a result she voted for another candidate.
Kyle Washington, a freshman physical education student from Tallahassee, said he observed students complaining about receiving ballots that were already filled out and ballots with names missing.
Other testimonies included reports of students receiving inaccurate information from members of the electoral commission and the mishandling of ballots during the election process.
During the oral arguments Whitney Murray, the attorney general for the Student Government Association, said there was a lack of evidence supporting the witnesses’ claims during the trial.
Electoral Commissioner Darien Moses said although the ballots were not reviewed after the election results were announced he is confident that the results are accurate.
Moses, a senior business administration student from Boyton Beach, said the junior ballots were hand counted because of a cutting error that would not allow the ballots to be fed into the machines at the precinct.
Both the defendant and the plaintiff agreed the request made by Rich was fair.
“I think it was a great outcome,” Moses said. ” It gives a non-biased party the opportunity to review the ballots to further ensure that no names were left off the ballot.”
“It’s kind of like a cliffhanger, but I’m glad that they are going to look into it further,” Sessomes said.