May 18, 2016 - 4:30 PM
'PROCESS WILL TAKE SEVERAL MONTHS'
KELOWNA - The controversy surrounding this year’s UBC Okanagan student election continues, with several candidates appealing the decision to hold a revote amid allegations the election was flawed.
The election took place on campus March 7 and 8 and resulted in a tie between incumbent Ryan Kaila and Blake Edwards. A revote was called for Monday, March 21, and on Tuesday it was announced Edwards had won 428 votes to 397.
But some students claim the process was tainted and one student launched a Change.org petition saying the process was mismanaged.
The petition, which received has received 350 signatures, alleges some ballots were missing names, multiple ballots were accidentally handed out to individual voters, candidates were caught campaigning outside the voting station and votes were cast without privacy.
Last week an email was sent to student representative candidates for the board of governors and the senate saying for them, the election would likely be nullified, associate registrar for academic governance Christopher Eaton says.
“We sent a note out to the candidates to alert them to the fact and included in that email was information on how they could appeal that decision if they didn’t agree with it,” Eaton says. “I now understand that a number, I’m not sure how many, have filed appeals and as a result of that the regulations say that any new vote will be put on hold until such time the appeal is resolved.”
Now a council elections committee will have to make a ruling before the process can move forward.
“I’m still waiting for the final appeal submissions so I can’t tell you when that will be until I’ve seen the appeal,” Eaton says. “I don’t know how long it will take. I would imagine the process will take several months.”
In the meantime, those students who were elected without issue will remain in office on the senate but there is no student representative for the board of governors.
“Any time an electoral process needs to be redone or an appeal is pending it leads to a certain lack of representation while the matter is resolved,” Eaton says. “That’s unfortunate but it’s simply a product of the process. We do recognize that going through an election is a stressful experience for students however we find that it is necessary for the integrity of the electoral process for this to be done properly. Our hope was that if we were able to do a revote we could have done it very quickly electronically and therefore would have had someone in place within a few weeks but while an appeal is pending no one will be declared elected.”
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