Amanda Byrd, 22, Miss Florida A&M University elect will not be retroactively disqualified, but the court did, again, decide to sanction the Electoral Commission for faulty rules and procedures.
The posted verdict in the student union building stated that the Student Supreme Court finds, based on the evidence provided, that the retroactive disqualification of Byrd alone would be unreasonable because “Byrd was not alone in the accumulation of point violations not assessed that may have ultimately disqualified her.”
The verdict went on to say that the court cannot “unjustly disqualify one candidate for a violation of student statues and not then retroactively disqualify every candidate that also violated the same statues.”
In a previous trial – Gallop Franklin and Dominick Ardis vs. the Electoral Commission – Franklin and Ardis did not win but the commission was sanctioned.
“It sends a message when we sanction the same people twice this year,” said Vincent Evans, counsel to Scarlett Williams.
Williams’ case against the commission involved precincts not being posted correctly and Byrd allegedly violating the rules by campaign members campaigning beyond the 50-foot mark of precincts.
“It would be very unfortunate for Miss Byrd to have to pay for the poor judgment and lack of respect the E.C. has done,” Evans said. “Amanda has done nothing at all.”
Although the verdict was not in Williams’ favor, Evans said they are pleased.
“We were very pleased with the verdict,” Evans said. “They are handing down sanctions. I’m not upset at all. Scarlett was not upset. This trial was against the E.C. and what they failed to do, not to hurt Amanda.”
However, Attorney General Dominique Bercy, said she doesn’t believe the case was only against the commission.
“I think the verdict was fair,” Bercy said. “If you want the election to be re-done then you should have asked for that if you feel that way. It would be unfair to disqualify one person and try to settle a personal vendetta.”
Evans said the commission did not do its job.
“The elections, overall, did not meet the standards they should have met,” Evans said. “There was great improvement but what they did not improve on hurt the elections.”
Byrd was in high spirits when she learned of the verdict. She said she was not worried about what would happen and was not surprised by the outcome.
“People are trying to make sure things were done fair for an equal opportunity,” Byrd said. “I think Scarlett is a wonderful person. I wasn’t surprised that she made the appeal because if you really want something, you’ll fight for it. She has passion. Honestly, it was something that was out of my control. I think that both of us would be good representatives for FAMU.”