McLean Moore crowned homecoming queen despite election violations and insufficient votes

McLean+Moore+is+named+homecoming+queen+at+the+annual+pep+rally+and+bonfire+on+Oct.+22%2C+2021.+

CW / David Gray

McLean Moore is named homecoming queen at the annual pep rally and bonfire on Oct. 22, 2021.

Kayla Solino | @kaylasolino, Staff Reporter

UPDATE: On Nov. 2, the Elections Board responded to The Crimson White’s repeated requests for comment. A full report on the Elections Board’s statement can be found here

In the absence of a specific runoff policy for homecoming queen contests, the Elections Board said it employed the criteria for Senate elections. They deemed the application appropriate because homecoming queen is not an executive office and a runoff election was not feasible with the timing of homecoming events. 

The Elections Board also released violation complaints on Nov. 2, which showed that Moore received zero infraction points. After consulting the Elections Manual, it appeared Moore had surpassed 12 infraction points. The Elections Board later reported that only one complaint was filed, and and a formal complaint is necessary for a candidate to receive points.

Homecoming queen McLean Moore’s election violations during her campaign were grounds for potential disqualification, but the Student Government Association Elections Board did not hold a hearing. 

According to the Elections Manual, a candidate’s accumulation of more than 12 infraction points can lead to disqualification after a formal complaint is filed. The Elections Board has not disclosed whether any formal complaints were filed against Moore or any other candidates. 

She surpassed the 12 infraction points necessary for the board to consider disqualification but was still crowned queen on Oct. 22. 

Results and runoffs

Voting closed on Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. Over 13,000 students voted in the highest turnout for a homecoming election since 2015, and the winner was announced Friday night at the annual pep rally and bonfire. 

The Elections Board released the results on Monday — three days later than expected — which revealed that Moore received 47% of votes. About 300 votes separated her and Montana Fouts. 

Since no candidate received more than 50% of the vote, there should have been a runoff election on Thursday, Oct. 21.  

The Elections Manual states that a candidate needs a majority of votes to win. The manual defines a majority as “fifty percent of the votes cast plus one additional vote.”

If no candidate receives a majority, “a run-off election shall be conducted no sooner than two class days following the election, but not later than ten full class days after the election, for the two candidates that receive the largest percentage of votes cast.”

Students have three full class days to contest the election after results are published. The official election results for homecoming queen were not made publicly available on the SGA website until Oct. 25 — more than three class days after the election. 

Failure to report donations

Moore failed to accurately report expenses or in-kind donations, which the Elections Manual deems an intermediate violation. Intermediate violations result in six points per infraction. 

Moore did not report her professional-quality campaign videos on any of her financial disclosure forms. If campaign materials are free or donated, candidates are required to estimate the fair market value of the contribution. 

Her failure to report the cost of her campaign videos should have resulted in a six-point infraction. 

Candidates are required to report total expenditures, which the manual defines as “all goods and services purchased by or donated (including monetary or in-kind contributions) to a candidate or campaign for use in the election or use in any way furthering that candidate’s campaign.” 

Financial forms

Failure to disclose finances is considered a major violation, which results in nine points per infraction. 

Multiple candidates were in violation of election policies regarding financial disclosures by Oct. 16. The Elections Board has not responded to multiple requests for comment since then. 

According to the Elections Manual, all homecoming queen candidates must report their campaign contributions and expenditures once a week, each week, from the date they announce their candidacy to the morning of the election, which was Oct. 19 this year. 

The Elections Board must make all candidates’ financial disclosure forms publicly available on the elections website within two class days of receiving them. 

As of Oct. 16, Moore had only reported one financial disclosure form on Oct. 4 and reported $0 in expenditures. By then, her campaign included personalized signs and buttons and a car painting event in a parking lot across from Calvary Baptist Church. She later reported these expenses. 

Moore’s second financial disclosure form should have been publicly available by Oct. 13 at the latest but remained missing at least through Oct. 16, which is a nine-point infraction. 

In her second financial report, the elections website lists another form dated Oct. 4. This second form initially reported $0 in contributions and expenditures. It was modified after the deadline to report $226 in expenditures out of a $350 donation attributed to herself. 

Modifying a form after the deadline is a six-point infraction. 

At the time of publication, the elections website does not include a form for Moore dated Oct. 11. 

Even if her second financial disclosure form was mistakenly dated Oct. 4 instead of Oct. 11, Moore should have reported her third form by Oct. 18. Instead, her third financial disclosure is dated Oct. 19 which is a nine-point infraction. 

In her final form submitted on election day, Moore reported an additional $38.37 in expenditures, bringing her total campaign cost to $265.15. 

At the time of publication, only one of Moore’s two forms that lists expenditures includes a copy of receipts. The Elections Manual dictates that candidates “must provide all receipts and estimates” for all financial disclosure forms, and failure to do so is a six-point infraction. 

Contesting results
Any student who wants to contest the election results has to file a petition in writing with the executive secretary of the SGA by Wednesday, Oct. 27, which is within three full class days of the election results being made available. 

The 2021-22 executive secretary is Colin Marcum, and the SGA website lists his email as cgmarcum@crimson.ua.edu

The executive secretary then notifies the Student Judicial Board and the Elections Board within two full class days of the petition being filed. 

Then, the Elections Board has a hearing and all appeals are directed to the Student Judicial Board. 

Isabel Hope contributed to the reporting of this story.

McLean Moore did not respond to repeated requests for comment throughout her campaign. She did not respond to additional requests for comment in time for publication. 

Reese Caldwell, chair of the SGA Elections Board, did not respond to repeated requests for comment in time for publication.