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Neil Parikh '11, a candidate for Undergraduate Finance Board vice-chair, withdrew from the race Tuesday night after he was caught removing one of his opponent's publicity posters, according to multiple sources.

Parikh, president of the Class of 2011, was seen removing a sign for his opponent, Juan Vasconez '10, from a Wriston Quadrangle door, according to both a former executive board member of the Undergraduate Council of Students and another student close to the election process. Both sources asked to remain anonymous.

The withdrawal leaves Vasconez as the only candidate for that position still on the ballot.

The two sources said Elections Board Chair Lily Tran '10 and Vice-Chair Zachary Langway '09 told Parikh Tuesday night that he could withdraw his candidacy or choose to face a hearing before the full board.

Parikh chose to withdraw his name later that night, the sources said.

Senior Director for Student Engagement Ricky Gresh discussed the actions with certain members of the board on Wednesday, the two students said. The Herald was unable to reach Gresh late Wednesday night.

The former UCS executive said Vasconez's sign was posted in a way that violated the election rules. There might have been confusion over which spots on campus were permissible for posting campaign signs, according to a third student close to the process, who confirmed that Parikh had removed a poster.

"Elections Board doesn't have any institutional memory, so each year, members just make up their own rules," the student said.

The Elections Board has established a four-page set of guidelines, Langway said. Though the guidelines do not specify the procedure for removing a student caught breaking the rules, Langway said the board was under no obligation to question any candidate who asked to have his name removed from the ballot.

Parikh confirmed to The Herald that he withdrew his candidacy, but declined to explain his reasons.

"Unfortunately, I'm not at liberty to discuss it until the election is over," Parikh said. "I won't disclose anything until the election is over to keep it fair to all sides involved."

Langway said he could not provide any more information about Parikh's withdrawl.
"At Neil's request, the Elections Board is not discussing details of his personal reasons for choosing to withdraw until after the polls have closed tomorrow afternoon," he said. "We're honoring his wishes for no discussion beyond the statement that he has withdrawn for personal reasons."

Vasconez said the Elections Board informed him late Tuesday night that Parikh had dropped out, which he said he "never expected."

"I was pretty surprised and, I mean, shocked, really," Vasconez said.

The Elections Board has not decided whether to consider Vasconez an unopposed candidate — which would mean he would need just 5 percent of the vote to avoid a run-off election, Tran said.

Regarding votes that had already been cast for Parikh, Tran said, "It's a choice between whether or not to count them as abstentions or to completely disqualify the votes altogether."

Tran said the Elections Board will wait until after the voting period closes at 12 p.m. today to decide how to handle votes cast for Parikh before his name was removed from the MyCourses ballot.

If the board decided to count Parikh's votes as abstentions and Vasconez did not receive more than 50 percent of the vote, the group would decide how to conduct a run-off, Tran said.

She said the board was unsure whether Parikh's name would appear on a run-off ballot in that situation. "There are a lot of questions that need to be answered still, unfortunately," she said.

Parikh said he has not decided what he would do if the board allowed him to place his name on a potential run-off ballot.




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