“Slap us in the cuffs. I’ll serve my time,” Luke R. Heine ’17, a presidential candidate in this year’s Undergraduate Council elections, laughed on Saturday at the possibility of rules sanctions.
On Tuesday, the Election Commission appeared to carry out at least some version of just that, levelling $15 in fines on him and his running mate for replacing bulletins on dining hall tables with ones containing a watermarked campaign message, a violation of elections rules.
Heine and Stephen A. Turban ’17, the only UC ticket composed of sophomores, initiated the campaign stunt on Saturday, snatching copies of bulletins in dining halls, scanning them into their computers, and watermarking a campaign publicity image into the background. They then made additional copies and replaced the original bulletins with their modified version between midnight and 6 a.m. Tuesday morning, switching the newsletters or pamphlets in Annenberg Hall and every House except Leverett and Kirkland.
The two did not ask for authorization in any House, according to Heine.
Heine said he and Turban wanted to add “spice” to an often “bland” election. He added that the plan was “absolutely” against the campaign rules. Matthew C. Estes ’18, the Election Commission chair, appeared to agree with them on at least the second assessment.
“The posters are just out of control,” Estes said Tuesday.
Estes said he was notified that the posters had been set up in Adams and Mather Houses. The ticket, which, like all the others, is allotted $225 in UC funds this year to cover campaign expenses, was fined $5 for the papers in Adams and $10 for those in Mather.
The pair also reprinted an original version of Mather’s newsletter and plans to front the cost with campaign funds.
Though Estes said the Election Commission knows about the infractions in Annenberg, he said members have yet to formally issue a penalty. Still, he said Heine and Turban will likely be fined for those violations as well.
Both Heine and Turban said they did not intend to anger anyone and appeared to regard the stunt as at least a minor victory.
“It’s kind of like cooking, right? I think what we did was really creative and was like a creative spice, but I mean that doesn't work in some dishes,” Heine said, referring to the Houses who reported them.
“I don’t actually know if he knows the extent of it,” Turban said of Estes.
Estes, on the other hand, appeared confused about why a ticket would knowingly violate the rules.
“It’s just very frustrating that they would do that, personally,” he said when prompted on that possibility.
Happy Yang ’16 and Faith A. Jackson ’16, another presidential ticket, were also fined $5 for exceeding a pre-campaign spending limit of $50. The pair expended $75, according to Estes.
—Staff writer Noah J. Delwiche can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ndelwiche.
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