Editor's Note: This article was written and given to The Daily Toreador. The guest reporter wrote this article in November. The Daily Toreador confirmed each quote and the sources. The Daily Toreador followed up with SGA and confirmed a new voting system put in place for the upcoming election. Read more about it here.
Homecoming at Texas Tech University is one of the university's most significant traditions. The parade, football game, float competitions, bonfire, and the election of the Homecoming Court all signify the tradition of welcoming alumni back to fight for the school loved dearly by so many.
According to Texas Tech's Student Government Association Election Code, Homecoming King and Queen are elected based on an initial resume screening, a personal candidate interview, and a campus-wide election.
The same campus-wide voting system is used each spring for the election of Tech’s Student Government Association leaders, including Student Body President.
The 2022 Texas Tech Homecoming election offered inconsistencies in the election code and contradicted what Election Commissioner, Michael Gunn, stated.
“Many first-year students at Tech were unable to vote in the Homecoming election,” Gunn said. “Any first-year student on campus should not have been able to- was not able to vote.”
“Our voting system is regulated by the university; we have a contract with them. And as such, we work with IT to generate a list of voters. The list of voters they generated this year- we didn’t realize it until much later- was inaccurate. It had no new students on it,” Gunn said. “So, all first-year students should not have been able to vote. By the time we realized that it was too late to adjust it. So, no first-year student should have been able to vote.”
Ashlyn Pearson, a first-year psychology major from Artesia, New Mexico, tried to vote in the election but never had the opportunity.
“When I would log in to go vote, it would either tell me I’m not authorized, or it would send me back to the login page over and over,” Pearson said. “I was excited to be able to vote. It brought me back to high school and I loved it. But when I wasn’t able and others were, it made me a bit upset and sad.”
However, Daniel Wilde, a first-year natural resource management major from Jacksonville, Texas, said he was able to vote in the election.
The discrepancies first-year students faced during the election period also impacted Tech alumni. Some graduates of the university were able to vote in the election, a direct contradiction of Chapter One, Section 1.12 of the SGA Election Code, stating, “only individuals who are officially registered as students of Texas Tech University may participate in Student Government Association elections except where expressly allowed in this Code. Registered students who are otherwise qualified under guidelines relevant to the election may participate both as candidates and voters.”
When notified that past Tech students had the ability to vote, Gunn denounced the happening.
“That would probably be an urban legend,” Gunn said.
However, Kaysen Queener, a Spring 2023 graduate of Tech, said she cast her vote in the election.
When asked to provide the students who voted in the election Gunn stated he would request it to be generated from the contracted third-party company and would have to pay for it. He stated they would only do that if there was a need to investigate the election. He said he would do an audit to address any issues or impropriety if anyone wants to challenge the election results.
Furthermore, Chapter IX, Subchapter D, Section 9.27 of the SGA Election Code states: “No voting member of the committee shall be a member, sponsor, or former member of an organization sponsoring a candidate for Homecoming King or Queen. No voting member of the committee shall be a family member of a candidate for Homecoming King or Queen. The Homecoming Candidate Screening Committee shall elect a voting member of the committee to serve as Chairman.”
“I will confirm in the future and make sure it is accurate and inclusive,” Gunn stated, regarding the election.
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