The Daily Gamecock

Parks coerced votes, accused of voter fraud

Student body presidential candidate Michael Parks reportedly coerced votes from Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity members, according to evidence sent to The Daily Gamecock. Parks also has been reported for several campaign violations that occurred in the final day of Student Government elections.

Although a formal complaint has not been filed, a student who does not wish to be named told The Daily Gamecock that Parks promised extra funding from Student Government to Lambda Chi social events in exchange for votes from chapter members. The same student said that pledges and younger brothers were "forced" to vote for Parks by the fraternity's executive board and older members. There have been multiple student sources corroborating these statements. 

Members of Parks' campaign were seen in multiple locations trying to influence student voters and interfere with the voting process by setting up unofficial voting stations and monitoring students while they voted.According to official reports filed to the Elections Commission (see images below), the two reported stations were located at the Darla Moore School of Business and on the Pickens Street Bridge near The Colloquium Cafe.

Members of his campaign staff approached students to ask if they had voted and to request that the students vote for Parks. The station on the bridge was reported to have had laptops and an iPad. This type of interference with the voting process is considered election fraud, as defined by Section 4-4-10 of the campaign codes. 

Parks was also reported for putting fliers under residents' doors in Columbia Hall, Patterson Hall and 650 Lincoln. Multiple fliers were hung up in the elevators and on the walls of these buildings as well. This method of campaigning is in violation of the University Solicitation Policy, according to Section 4-3-20 of the campaign codes.

In total, Parks has 5.5 points in violations. A candidate can be disqualified after obtaining five points. 

Parks is currently one of the candidates whose name will appear on the presidential runoff ballot next week. He gave the following statement when asked to comment:

"I'm not a member of a Greek organization on campus, however, like other candidates, I have shared my platform with several of the Greek chapters here at USC. The decisions, actions, and endorsements of Greek and non-Greek organizations on election days are completely out of my campaign's control. I appreciate the support from many of these organizations and hope that it continues through next week's runoff election."

UPDATE: After reviewing Parks' letter of appeal, the Student Government Constitutional Council has granted a hearing to make a final decision on Parks' violation of Section 4-3-20 of the campaign codes. The time and location of the hearing have not been announced.