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June 6, 2007

Election grievance committee rules in favor of Moskowitz

by Pia Nargundkar, Online Editor-in-Chief
Former Student Member of the Board (SMOB) candidate junior Will Bucher was denied his election grievance against SMOB-elect Ben Moskowitz, the four-member student grievance committee announced today.

The committee ruled that Bucher did not prove Moskowitz had violated any campaign rules or regulations, and denied Bucher's requested remedies. The committee, headed by Seneca Valley senior Caroline Rodriguez, considered all of the written and oral evidence provided by the parties and reached a unanimous decision.

Moskowitz said he felt vindicated by the ruling and is looking ahead. "I'm happy that it was a unanimous decision and I hope I can now dedicate my time in the rest of June to getting ready to take office," he said.

Bucher, who declined to comment on the specifics of the decision because he had not seen the official ruling, stated that, in regards to the election's outcome, "the students of Montgomery County [are] the real losers."

Additional grievances originally filed against MCPS Student Affairs director Karen Crawford and the SGA president of Cabin John Middle School were dropped during the hearing on Monday.

Editor's Note: In light of the controversy surrounding Will Bucher's quote, the entirety of his statement is reprinted below.

"Whatever was the decision of the committee, it is my sincere hope that the rights of the Students of Montgomery County to vote based on complete true and accurate candidate information were preserved and strengthened. As I stated in the hearing it is my belief that that was not true in this election, and that my opponent was permitted to directly benefit by linking his campaign Facebook group to groups dedicated solely to spreading lies and disinformation about my candidacy. Hopefully, at the very least, the committee mandated that new rules will be mandated that prevent from happening again what occurred in this election, in which I believe the students of Montgomery County were the real losers."



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  • person on June 6, 2007 at 11:52 PM
    hahaha "the students of Montgomery County [are] the real losers." someone should quote him on that when he tries to run for something in college...this comment is going to come back and haunt bucher. good.
  • qwerty on June 7, 2007 at 12:26 AM
    "the students of MoCo are the real losers"

    i see another "gays are not unicorn" incident brewing here, especially for those who take it out of context.

    boy, you sure could practice your speech/oral skills will, especially in a political context.
  • Eli Barnett on June 7, 2007 at 7:30 AM
    "The students of Montgomery County are real losers." Yeah, because we don't support sore losers?
  • Aaron on June 7, 2007 at 8:21 AM
    harsh words Will. "the students lose" I'm pretty sure most of the people who voted never even saw Ben's website or even knew about it really. Nobody said "Oh, if WJ or Magruder supports Ben then I will vote for him without even caring about his platform." The student body is not that dumb and it is an insult for Will to imply that we are.
  • Pamela More (Will's Mother) (View Email) on June 7, 2007 at 10:02 AM
    Will was handicapped last night because he had not received a copy of the ruling when you asked him last night for a comment. Despite this handicap, he provided this thoughtful response, "Whatever was the decision of the committee, it is my sincere hope that the rights of the Students of Montgomery County to vote based on complete true and accurate candidate information were preserved and strengthened. As I stated in the hearing, it is my belief that that was not true in this election, and that my opponent was permitted to directly benefit by linking his campaign Facebook Group to Groups dedicated solely to spreading lies and disinformation about my Candidacy. Hopefully at the very least, the committee mandated that new rules will be instituted that prevent from happening again what occurred in this election, in which I believe the students of Montgomery County were the real losers."
    Your editing of the comment to "the students of Montgomery County are the real losers" was editorially irresponsible. It completely distorts the comment and makes it appear as though Will is saying the students would simply be better served with Will as SMOB.
  • Pamela More (Will's Mother) (View Email) on June 7, 2007 at 2:32 PM
    "Querty" & "person"
    Please read the comment Will actually provided that has now been posted. As I noted in my post, and as these responses demonstrate, it has now been completely distorted, because of the editing done by Silver Chips. Simple fairness requires that Silver Chips should provide a correction and run the entire quote. Unless every reader visits this forum to see the true quote, the vast majority will believe he said nothing but the irresponsibly edited version that appeared on the front page. (My charge of "irresponsible editing" is not a personal attack on the editor. As they well know, or should know as EIC's, such editing occurs when the true meaning of a quotation is changed by the editing. Simple journalistic ethics requires that editing does not have the effect of changing the essential meaning of the quote.)
  • ha ha on June 7, 2007 at 2:36 PM
    denied!!
  • lawlz on June 7, 2007 at 2:39 PM
    gg son gg!
  • To Will's Mother on June 7, 2007 at 7:04 PM
    I'm confused about why you have to comment on this article for Will, instead of having him write out his own response.
    After all, it is he who filed the grievance, and he who should be replying to comments made to him, not you,.... right?
  • hard-core dem on June 7, 2007 at 7:16 PM
    well, then he couldn't be mature enough to say that intead of calling us "losers"? He needs to work on his political skills, so excuse us for being offended by the term "losers". This coming from a former candidate is really a diappointment.
  • blazer on June 7, 2007 at 9:45 PM
    surprise.
  • blazuh! on June 7, 2007 at 9:54 PM
    even though I voted for Moskowitz, Bucher's really not half bad. I agree with Ms. More, the 'losers' quote does seem like it was taken out of context (I smell a unicorn).

    that said, it's a well written article, and I doubt the quote was intentionally misused.

    though it's the responsibility of the paper to catch things like that, people make mistakes. maybe it's the responsibility of the readers to recognize that everything they read and hear is not necessarily an accurate representation of the truth?
  • nick on June 8, 2007 at 12:29 AM
    mrs. more, your son is perfectly capable of defending himself. is this the same kind of deference to parental units we could have seen had will won the election?
  • lil J on June 8, 2007 at 1:47 PM
    Will, you and your mom need to give up. The election is over and you lost. First of all you are making a fool of yourself and secondly stuff like this happens in every election from the President of the United States to SMOB. Elections will always be nasty so stop filing law suits and take your loss more graciously.
  • 07 on June 8, 2007 at 2:37 PM
    i voted for moskowitz and honestly don;t like bucher, but i dont think he was calling us losers for not voting for him, he was saying that we were the ones who truly "lost" because a four person committee refused to overturn the votes of an entire county, and thus he isn't SMOB.
  • to: Will's Morther on June 8, 2007 at 4:46 PM
    His intention's may have been good (though knowing human nature that seems unlikely), but given the situation it simply appears that he is being a sore loser.

    The lawsuit against the facebook group just seems to prove it further. Facebook has little to no influence on people's opinions, as far as i know. It's one website. Will just seems to be angry that he lost. As i said, this may not be the case, but that's what it looks like.
  • Former student on June 8, 2007 at 6:09 PM
    I wouldn't exactly say that the Facebook Group has "little to no influence on people's opinions."

    I have not kept up with the SMOB election in the past year. However, even as a current outsider (a former Blair student) and a reporter for a college newspaper, I would strongly agree that Will Bucher's quote has been grossly misused. I am surprised and disappointed that Silver Chips Online editing had failed to correct the distortion.
  • Pamela More (Will's Mother) (View Email) on June 8, 2007 at 7:27 PM
    Since the election,Will has taken 18 major tests(8AP's,2 SAT II's, several finals, and other major tests he is making up since he was absent so much. He also spent some time preparing for the hearing. Until now he was not free to comment. During the election he was staying positive (he never responded in kind to the malicious and persistent fabrications of these web sites)and he was trying to keep the discussion of this henious trash to a minimum. Then he was waiting until the hearing to present his case. Now that the hearing is over he is free to respond with complete explanations. The hearing was Monday, ever since while some of you were busy attacking him based on false assumptions or incorrect information, which in some cases you knew to be untrue, (see numerous posts in which my reply set the record straight)I simply stood in to rapidly respond so that more fabrication, deliberate falsehoods and general misinformation would not prevail in the discussion. He is out having a well deserved break tonight, but the worst of the big tests are over and he will be back to defend himself, which he is perfectly capable of doing.
    to: there is no "lawsuit against a Facebook Group". Please do not make assertions unless you are certain your information is correct. Will presented a sophisticated statistical analysis (he has had statistics, and he had help from someone even more experienced,they both are legally considered experts)that demonstrated that something made the voting patterns in this election dramatically different from past elections in a way that could very well be interpreted as proving the false "lawsuit rumor" and the defamatory Facebook Groups (there were 4 or 5 depending on which you include) changed the voting enough to cost him the election. He was not "whining",or being a "sore loser"; he did a careful analysis, which Silver Chips has not reported on at all as far as I know, although they have the document. For one person to spend the time to keep up with so many people creating/spreading misinformation/fabrication/misunderstandingsespecially when he is buried in work is an unreasonable expectation. But I will sign off now, as he certainly can defend himself when he is here to do so...have a good weekend everyone.
  • oh c'mon on June 8, 2007 at 11:30 PM
    "Since the election,Will has taken 18 major tests(8AP's,2 SAT II's, several finals, and other major tests he is making up since he was absent so much."

    that was REALLY necessary, right? did your son also win a nobel prize, and become president? Because then i would really understand why you have been writing page long responses, while Will is taking his long deserved break.

    Well, since it's the weekend, do you think Will can afford a few minutes to respond himself? I would really like to hear HIS side and opinions, not your's.
  • blzer on June 9, 2007 at 2:55 PM
    Although Silver Chips butchered Bucher's quote, it is Will's fault for using "loser" in his quote. Will needs to choose his words more carefully.
  • Henry Scher (View Email) on June 9, 2007 at 3:59 PM
    Mrs. More:
    I would like to see the statistical analysis, just for personal consideration. Would you be fine with that? That could change my opinion, as expressed in the other article, should I think it is a fair test. However, I do not currently believe it is a fair test, for reasons explained earlier.
  • Former student on June 10, 2007 at 2:18 AM
    To "blzer"

    In journalism, context holds a great deal of weight. Perhaps Will should not be abused for merely using the term "loser". The fact of the matter is the quote was miused in a slanting manner. Thank you, SCO, for including the actual and complete quotation.
  • firmamentalfalcon on June 10, 2007 at 9:21 AM
    Ms. More needs to realize that her audience is made up of children. In the adult world where logic and respect reigns, her case may have met approval and pity. But sadly, this is not the adult world: this world is composed of children who are more interested in insults and taking side jabs at others than in providing their case with facts and reasoning. In the adult world her arguments’ pathos may have hit hard, but it simply bounces off the teenage hide that many of these children have. These are heartless people Ms More is dealing with.

    At first, it may seem Blair has many politically active students who will grow up to be model citizens. The only problem is that most of these children do not care about the SMOB elections; the people who argued against Will Bucher did not use his platform; they knew it would have been useless. No one would be convinced to vote for Bucher if I proved that Moskowitz’s driving program was stupid. The issues determined by the SMOB are not controversial and important enough to tackle and spill ink over.

    Why then, would so many children join Facebook groups and take the time to post on these articles when the position in question does not matter to them at all? It is the same reason why there are bullies in our schools to make lives miserable. With nothing better to do, they wish to explore their power over others; they wish to see an equal writhe in pain under their feet.

    Without any facts to support themselves, they pull from lies and twist facts to somehow make their insults seem to have some backing. Take this for an example: “Also Bucher certianly did compare homosexuals to unicorns, and if you see his slip-up as anything other than a subconsciously homophobic remark you're deluding yourself.” Unless the author is delusional himself, he certainly does not logically see how the unicorn remark is a subconsciously homophobic remark, yet he says it anyways to express his dislike for Bucher. He provides no backing whatsoever but his threat of “you’re deluding yourself.”

    Once these children’s views of Bucher were first formulated, they were set in stone and would not budge even with the evidence Ms. More provided. They reject her arguments because it seems like she was taking over the job for Bucher, even though her arguments are sound and would make the case if these children were truly looking for a debate. But since they aren’t and are only in this for finding themselves a twisted sense of power, I believe Ms. More and Bucher should not defend themselves against these children.

    It is fighting a losing battle against thoughts set in stone. Ms. More’s decent attacks against the children, who choose to ignore her facts, were most likely shrugged off. These children do not mean what they say and do not truly believe what they say. They are in this for the power they feel when they hurt others and do not care at all about the topic at hand. As hard as it may be, it would be best if Ms. More and Bucher will ignore these attacks so they will not be hurt by these idiotic searches for self-gratification.
  • uh well on June 10, 2007 at 10:20 AM
    Even with cutting down the quote, it didn't change the meaning. It's pretty clear Bucher meant that the students did not benefit from electing Moskowitz.

    "what occurred in this election, in which I believe the students of Montgomery County were the real losers." It doesn't matter what was said before, he's referring to "THIS ELECTION" and calling MoCo students the losers for not having him as SMOB. That's ALL it refers to, unless he meant something else and his grammar is screwed up.

    Regardless, he needs to learn where the line is. And learn when to quit.

    Telling mommy to post on SCO articles won't help him.

    Honestly does Bush go ahead and try to shut down facebook groups which portray him as a dumb Texan? No.
  • Whitney Skippings on June 10, 2007 at 8:56 PM
    to firmamentalfalcon:

    To say the least, you seriously underestimate the maturity of the Blair student population. In my eyes, Ms. More did not provide any sound evidence to prove that her son deserved to be SMOB any more than Ben Moskowitz. Nor did she prove that Ben did anything that violated campaigning procedures. If she had, the committee would have voted in their favor.

    Aside from the petty insults that I will admit were traded from both sides, the MCPS student body just believed that Ben was a better candidate. Regardless of we thought of Will on a personal level, Ben was better qualified.

    Furthermore, Will put himself on the negative side of the Blair population by mentioning a recently deceased Blair student in his campaign speech. To use his interaction with that person (which really lasted all of a couple seconds) was insensitive in the eyes of all of the Blair population, teachers and students included.

    I'm not quite sure where your bitterness toward our generation comes from 'firmamentalfalcon', but please take your judgemental comments to a different venue. You have taken this friendly debate MUCH further than it needed to be taken, and you seem to have a very strong opinion for someone who doesn't have the courage to sign his name.
  • just to say on June 10, 2007 at 9:59 PM
    firmamentalfalcon, there's no need to be condescending. Surely, some people are only taking "side jabs" at Bucher because they're immature bullies and liars. But there are plenty of people whose demeanors are more conducive to teasing -- why would any of these bullying children pick Will Bucher, a successful, popular, probably intelligent person?

    Maybe some (or most) of us actually care about the SMOB election, because it's the only way we get an albeit small voice in our school system. Maybe we think that Ben Moskowitz honestly would have been the better candidate, and that Bucher simply isn't playing fair.

    "Politically active" students aren't restricted to presidential elections -- in fact, it makes sense for them to be involved in an election that directly impacts them. You can't label kids "bullies" for speaking out against Bucher in the same way that they would speak out against Bush. It's the same thing; it's on a smaller scale, perhaps, but the same basic principle is at work.

    And by the way, slamming high schoolers as brats and immature children is probably counterintuitive when one is a high schooler.
  • Henry Scher (View Email) on June 10, 2007 at 10:56 PM
    firmamentalfalcon :: 6/10/2007, 09:21 AM "Ms. More needs to realize that her audience is made up of children. In the adult world where logic and respect reigns, her case may have met approval and pity. " Not true in the least. The adult world is exactly like that of children: you see people set against one another as firmly as you've said the children do. You see people with closed minds and with open minds. "But sadly, this is not the adult world: this world is composed of children who are more interested in insults and taking side jabs at others than in providing their case with facts and reasoning." For some of the children, certainly. For others, such as blazuh below, middle school student on the other (second from bottom), Libertarian throughout the other, and, I hope, myself, the argument has been through almost entirely fact and is actually worth something rather than just "insults and side jabs." "In the adult world her arguments’ pathos may have hit hard, but it simply bounces off the teenage hide that many of these children have. These are heartless people Ms More is dealing with." These people clearly feel greatly about the issue - they are saying that they disagree with her and in a certain way. Not heartless at all. "At first, it may seem Blair has many politically active students who will grow up to be model citizens. The only problem is that most of these children do not care about the SMOB elections; the people who argued against Will Bucher did not use his platform; they knew it would have been useless." There are other things which are legitimate to use that many of the people in my school did use - such as Will's activity during and after the campaign last year, in which he smeared Eric Hysen. That activity is mostly what convinced me to vote against him and to write against him below and in the earlier article. "No one would be convinced to vote for Bucher if I proved that Moskowitz’s driving program was stupid. The issues determined by the SMOB are not controversial and important enough to tackle and spill ink over. Why then, would so many children join Facebook groups and take the time to post on these articles when the position in question does not matter to them at all?" Perhaps the position itself does matter to us? I personally would like to be represented by a person whom I felt was responsible and who I felt might actually have some influence as SMOB. "It is the same reason why there are bullies in our schools to make lives miserable. With nothing better to do, they wish to explore their power over others; they wish to see an equal writhe in pain under their feet." I would like to know where you are getting this. This is entirely false, at least for myself and for several others I know. "Without any facts to support themselves, they pull from lies and twist facts to somehow make their insults seem to have some backing." See the list above for refutation. "Take this for an example: “Also Bucher certianly did compare homosexuals to unicorns, and if you see his slip-up as anything other than a subconsciously homophobic remark you're deluding yourself.” Unless the author is delusional himself, he certainly does not logically see how the unicorn remark is a subconsciously homophobic remark, yet he says it anyways to express his dislike for Bucher. He provides no backing whatsoever but his threat of “you’re deluding yourself.” "This comes from one student, and although several students may be acting like this, a lot of the comments that I've seen have authors who are not, and to whom your generalization does not apply, to the extent that the generalization is extremely rude. "Once these children’s views of Bucher were first formulated, they were set in stone and would not budge even with the evidence Ms. More provided." Perhaps they would not budge because they saw how Will was acting and how he had acted? That is how I formulated my view at first, and these acts confirm it. "They reject her arguments because it seems like she was taking over the job for Bucher, even though her arguments are sound and would make the case if these children were truly looking for a debate." I am not rejecting the arguments because they are from his mother. I am rejecting them because they are not convincing. "But since they aren’t and are only in this for finding themselves a twisted sense of power, I believe Ms. More and Bucher should not defend themselves against these children." By all means, they should defend themselves - if it were actually all in terms of defense. However, defend yourselves well, and you may be taken seriously. "It is fighting a losing battle against thoughts set in stone. Ms. More’s decent attacks against the children, who choose to ignore her facts, were most likely shrugged off." From what I've seen the attacks weren't "decent," nor were they ignored. "These children do not mean what they say and do not truly believe what they say. They are in this for the power they feel when they hurt others and do not care at all about the topic at hand." Once again, I do not see any place where you substantiate this. "As hard as it may be, it would be best if Ms. More and Bucher will ignore these attacks so they will not be hurt by these idiotic searches for self-gratification." Thank you for repetition.
  • Libertarian (View Email) on June 11, 2007 at 3:34 AM
    ok, I thought I was done, but I've still got a few more things to say.

    I'll start from the oldest comments and work my way to the comment made tonight.

    Firmamentalfalcon:
    By running for SMOB Will made himself a public figure. You cannot claim that people were bullying him any more than anyone making fun of Bush's accent or Edward's hair cut. As Henry said, the reason this stuff happens is not because they are kids. Watch real elections, you'll see the same stuff happen. Doesn't make it any better, but the point about adult vs. kid world is off.

    Uh well:
    These groups were slanderous, which is illegal and against facebook policies. One alledged that he had molested a girl. Unless that is backed up he had every right to shut down these illegal groups.

    Witney Skippings:
    The jabs were NOT exchanged by both sides, they came from one side only. Will was insulted on every part of his person other than his actual positions. Will and his supporters never started any groups insulting Ben or his supporters. Will did not even respond to the slanderous groups. That's where I would have done things differently. I would have let the groups stand and challenge the lies presented against me. Agreed about Helgeson though. But do not insult anyone for not using their name. The content should matter, not the person. If you want to use your name, fine, but do NOT call someone a coward for simply posting anonymously.

    Just to say:
    But there were lies. What they did is akin to me attacking Bush for bombing the world trade center on 9/11.


    But in general, I think the committee made the right decision. I was able to see the statistical analysis and the only thing it showed was that there was a statistically significant relationship between distance from home school and the way the school voted. This would most likely be the case without facebook. What the statistical analysis fails to prove is that facebook caused this variation, and that the variation was enough to overturn the election in Bucher's favor.

    The facebook groups against Bucher were childish and immature IMO (although I have nothing against the people in those groups making legitimate complaints, and there were several of those, I'm just discussing the slander). But from what I've seen they were not the reason Will lost. He lost because kids in Montgomery County wanted Ben to be SMOB. Ben won by a sizeable margin and were I on the committee I probably would have voted exactly as the other 4 did.
  • U LOSE (View Email) on June 11, 2007 at 2:55 PM
    YEA WILL AND WILL'S MOM YOU GUYS ARE DONE! STOP ARGUING WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD CUZ MORE AND MORE PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO GET ANNOYED AND TICKED OFF. ADMIT DEFEAT AND MOVE ON...
  • firmamentalfalcon on June 11, 2007 at 4:48 PM
    I am wrong for making my comment seem like it applies to all high school students; it certainly doesn’t. There are many people who disliked the things people in Bucher’s opposition did and others who did not participate in such activities. What I had in mind were the people who did join the Facebook groups and did post horrible lies about Bucher. Also what I had in mind were some of the posts that Silver Chips deleted and some of the ones that still remain.

    I was only responding to Ms. More’s quote of “The hearing was Monday, ever since while some of you were busy attacking him based on false assumptions or incorrect information, which in some cases you knew to be untrue, (see numerous posts in which my reply set the record straight).” There were many people who posted stupid comments specifically to hurt Bucher and I found them to be extremely disgusting. And as I pointed out, they were stupid children. Since you guys agree that there are bullies, I do not see much else worth replying to.
  • Mark Choi on June 12, 2007 at 3:25 PM
    In my opinion, this went too far. When I say this, I mean this whole debate and all this bashing of Will. Will was a candidate for SMOB. He lost. When he filed this grievance, he did so because he felt that he had been wronged. By all means, he had a right to do so. That's why I don't see why everyone is bashing him for it. He had a right to file a grievance so why are you attacking him for it?

    To: libertarian

    Actually, by what did occur on the facebook groups, they were worse than simple remarks on Will or his appearance. They twisted his platform and attempted to push people from Will's side to Ben's side through cheap trickery.

    On a final note, I would like to say that those who were running the groups were cheap and cowardly. The last group that was formed ended up with no admins when I checked. Maybe this was from the warning that were given or some other cause, but if the admins truly wanted to make a statement, they should have stayed admins and accepted the punishment. I deleted that group from facebook, because it was childish and immature.

    And in no way does Will's running for SMOB make the actions taken by the seniors not childish or immature. If they wanted to challenge his candidacy, they should have done so with clean and proper tactics, not like the sleazeball tactics of distorting his comments on homosexuals and his platform.
  • Henry Scher (View Email) on June 12, 2007 at 4:57 PM
    Mark: What I've seen most people complaining about isn't the fact that he filed a grievace - that is simple enough. His presumption in suggesting an outcome should he win, and the magnitude of that outcome, is what people are complaining about. Had he only asked for a reprimand or something like that, I personally would have been fine. However, since he was looking to get the position no matter the actual outcome of the election by means of this grievance, I complained, and I'm sure that is why many other people did as well.
  • Libertarian (View Email) on June 13, 2007 at 1:05 AM
    Henry, if he was correct in his grievance, it would only be fair that he would become SMOB. He was not asking for too much. Again I draw the analogy with 2000, would Democrats be happy with a reprimand had a recount found that Gore actually won? He was arguing that he rightfully should have won the election. He has a right to file a grievance, and for people to insult him for it is childish. If you want to say he has no case that's one thing, but to call someone following the proper procedure a sore loser is detrimental to the process of a fair election. He did what he was allowed to do and lost, as he should have. I don't think he had a good enough case.
  • Euclid on June 14, 2007 at 10:43 AM
    @Libertarian
    The difference is that this could not have decided the election, and is not a matter of peoples votes not being counted. This is a matter whose impact is nearly impossible to determine precisely, but is almost assuredly less than what Bucher lost by. If he were given the role now, that is ignoring the will of the still likely vast, but almost certainately majority that voted for Ben. Why should we discount their votes? Ben won, even without the group. It's not fair to him or his supporters, or everyone who voted for him to discount their votes just because of the activities of a very few.
    Besides, Will's activities seem to be less following procedure, and more giving Ben a hard time for the sake of it.
  • Henry Scher (View Email) on June 15, 2007 at 7:32 PM
    Zach: As said earlier, your comparison of Bucher to Gore is not quite correct. A closer comparison, though still not quite right, would be Bucher to John Kerry, who, even with the influence of Swift Boaters, did not ask for a recount, and the day after the election agreed that Bush had won. In my opinion, Bucher should do the same, even while submitting the grievance.
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