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In response to the first known rule violation of the Yale College Council election season, the Election Committee penalized presidential candidate Zach Marks ’09 for launching his campaign prematurely.

The committee reduced Marks’ allotted number of posters by 20 percent after he illegally formed a campaign team late last week, almost 10 days before he is allowed to do so under campaign rules. Marks, who serves as YCC Secretary, agreed to stop putting together a campaign team after being told on Friday that he was under investigation, said YCC Vice President Steve Engler ’07, who chairs the Election Committee.

In addition, Engler said, when a member of his campaign team informed Marks that she would be stepping down to work on behalf of another candidate, Marks told her that while she did not have to campaign for him, she could not join another candidate’s operation.

The penalty is a minor one because Marks’ offense is the first infraction of the campaign, but future violations will warrant sterner penalties, Engler said.

“For it to be effective, the penalty has to be something we can control,” he said. “Ideally we would want to control e-mail access, but it’s extremely hard to control. Right now I’m monitoring e-mails because I’m CCed on them, but it’s easy to send an e-mail without CCing me.”

The other candidates in the presidential race are Brent Godfrey ’08 and Davenport College representative Rebecca Taber ’08.