The final SGA Senate meeting of the 31st administration discussed and passed resolutions on issues from the TKE controversy to the RA pay cut. (Photo/Reynolds Rogers)

Prior to the start of official campaigning, both Student Government Association executive campaigns received SGA Elections Committee sanctions for violations of SGA rules.

According to the Feb. 21 sanction notice, the committee suspended ACT UGA from digital campaigning from midnight to 8 a.m. on Feb. 25 after ACT Vice Presidential candidate Charley Claudio was found to have access to multiple Instagram accounts associated with the word “empower,” such as “uga_empower.”

Claudio was found to be in violation of the SGA Elections Code and the SGA Code of Ethics.

Empower UGA staff submitted an official complaint against ACT UGA which states the “shell accounts” sought “to block [the] ticket from publicizing [their] message during the campaign period.”

In an interview with The Red & Black, the ACT campaign declined to comment on the sanction.

Empower was suspended from digital campaigning from midnight to 10 a.m. on Feb. 25 and from contact with registered student organizations for 24 hours. Empower Presidential candidate Rachel Byers and Empower Vice Presidential candidate Melissa Hevener had communicated specific policy points with the executive board of an unnamed student organization on Feb. 18, according to the Feb. 24 sanction notice.

Empower told the executive board of the club the ticket members were “intended candidates,” according to the notice, which states: “While they stressed that they were not technically candidates for office, their actions were tantamount to campaigning for office.”

The name of the student organization Byers and Hevener contacted was redacted from the notice, but the ACT campaign’s official complaint claimed the organization was UGA HEROs. ACT was contacted by Madie Moore, the executive director of HEROs, about speaking to the organization “to ensure ‘all fairness of elections … [and] to present platform ideals’ to the Heros Board like the Empower executive ticket did,” according to the complaint.

Byers and Hevener were found to be in violation of the Elections Code, according to the notice.

The Empower campaign previously declined to speak with The Red & Black on the grounds of its 24-hour suspension of contact with registered student organizations.

ACT UGA and Empower UGA announced their candidacies Monday on social media. Both tickets campaigned at Tate Stage from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The candidates will participate in a debate at the UGA Chapel at 6 p.m. on Feb. 27.

Follow @redandblack on Twitter to stay up to date with SGA election coverage.

Correction: In a previous version of this article, The Red & Black misidentified Empower Vice Presidential candidate Melissa Hevener's title on the executive ticket. The Red & Black regrets this error and it has since been fixed.

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