Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Sunday, April 30, 2017

Deon Jones wins South side ANC seat, Tom Smith defeats Tyler Sadonis for North side

Deon Jones wins South side ANC seat, Tom Smith defeats Tyler Sadonis for North side
Freshman Deon Jones, right, won election to ANC 3D as a write-in candidate. Incumbent Commissioner Tom Smith, center, edged out Freshman Tyler Sadonis, left, to win re-election to 3D.

Deon Jones may have just won a seat on an Advisory Neighborhood Commission, but that’s not enough for him. The freshman has his sights set on the Oval Office next.

As a write-in candidate, Jones will fill the vacant ANC 3D 07 seat, which represents the South side of campus. Jones received 17 write-in votes.

Jones said one of his dreams is to be president, so that he can help reform the public education system in places like his hometown of Atlanta.

But for now, he has to settle for reading zoning laws as part of his homework.

Freshman Tyler Sadonis, also a write-in candidate, lost against incumbent Commissioner Tom Smith for the ANC 3D 02 seat, which represents the North side. Smith received 228 votes.

Sadonis and Smith are planning an AU town hall meeting for next semester.

Community relations

AV4U’s campaign strategy “mirrored the worst of the current American political system,” Smith said.

The elections’ effect on the neighborhood will take a long time to heal, he said.

But AV4U members and the candidates said the election improved AU’s neighborhood relations.

“There was no intention with this campaign to divide the community,” said Sadonis, who will become the Student Government’s Director of Community Relations next semester. “The number one priority was to unite it.”

This is the first step toward building a better relationship between AU and local residents, said AV4U Finance Director Ed Levandoski.

“It’s not just a one-time thing,” he said.

But Campaign Manager Bharat Krishnan said the fact that the election was so local, showed him “just how nasty city politics” could be.

“The smaller a campaign gets, the more personal it gets and so the opportunity for personal vendettas grows bigger and bigger,” he said.

Finance complaint against Sadonis, AV4U dismissed

Smith filed two formal complaints against Sadonis, the A Voice 4 U campaign and its public relations firm, Eagle Communications.

One complaint claimed campaign finance laws were violated.

D.C.’s Office of Campaign Finance held a hearing and found that several violations had occurred, but all charges were ultimately dismissed.

All candidates must file financial statements with the Office of Campaign Finance by Jan. 31.

There is some money leftover in AV4U’s account, according to Levandoski. He is not sure what will happen with it in the future, but all debts have been paid off.

Board of Elections and Ethics changes

As a result of Sadonis and Jones’ campaigns, the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics changed some paperwork before this election, according to spokeswoman Alysoun McLaughlin.

The Board expected students’ voter registrations to be challenged, and changed the documents to make the challenge process clearer.

In the past 10 years, there have not been any ballots challenged at the Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church polls on Nebraska Avenue, according to Precinct 9 Captain Lawrence Williams, The Eagle previously reported.

But this year, about 35 votes, mostly from students, were challenged, Williams said.

This race was the first time D.C. residents were allowed to register at the polls on Election Day for ANC races. Same-day registration was implemented for the first time during the Sept. 14 primary election, but there were no ANC elections then.

AU lawyers unable to further pursue voter intimidation claims

AU lawyers said they heard “unsubstantiated” rumors of complaints concerning possible student voter intimidation on Election Day, but will not do anything further because there is not enough evidence.

The two signed statements they received did not detail first-hand intimidation, according to Bethany Bridgham, an AU attorney.

One statement described two incidents where the author believed voter intimidation had occurred, but not to them. The other statement described a general feeling of hostility, but did not have an actual allegation of intimidation.

sdazio@theeagleonline.com