UBCO Postpones Re-vote After Candidates Appeal
May 11th, 2016
Nine candidates sent an appeal of the election, alleging less student representation, stress on candidates, and conflicts of interest.
One week after the university declared the Senate and Board of Governors (BoG) elections void, candidates affected by the elections received an email indicating that the election has been appealed and will be postponed until the appeal is resolved.
The appeal, signed by nine elected and unelected candidates, states several reasons why there should not be a re-vote.
The appeal addresses that having the election in the summer “is not any more fair of an election than the last,” as grad students have little commitment to vote, and candidates still on campus have a huge advantage over their competitors.
Many candidates also faced major stress and anxiety “after losing hours of sleep, missing lectures, and missing assignments to commit for their candidacy,” which many candidates would not want to experience again.
Some candidates even want their names removed from the ballot if a re-vote occurs.
The appeal denies that the re-vote will bring a “more represented student voice and a fairer process,” because a re-vote with a lower turnout will have “less student representation and less presence from absent candidates.”
The last reason in the appeal alleges a conflict of interest that “a certain candidate” supporting the re-vote would receive praise for taking initiative in promoting the election review that may influence the BoG votes.
Following the appeal, BoG candidate Shira Sneg dropped her candidacy for BoG.
“The way I see it, once there were complications with the March elections, my primary role as a candidate changed into a student representative that advocates for a right and just process,” Shira told The Phoenix. “When the review process concluded stating that we need to have fair elections, I withdrew my candidacy. I’m confident that things will turn for the better moving forward. I would also like to use this opportunity to thank everyone who had supported me in my campaign.”
BoG candidate Terry Zhang supports the appeal.
“A better and a more fair election is justified, but I believe a re-election at this specific time is inconvenient for the candidates and potential voters, which doesn’t make the proposed re-election all that fair,” Terry told The Phoenix. “I think Shira has done a great job with engaging students and communicating with Senate to push for a re-election and I think SUO has the ability to run an excellent election next year. It’s just that timing has become an unfortunate issue.”
Senate candidate Laurence Watt, who also supports the appeal, does not see a high turnout for a summer election.
“If you think it’s tough to get students to do their teacher evaluations online whilst school is in session, you haven’t seen anything yet,” Laurence said.
Although Chris Eaton’s original email to candidates states that only the top six candidates for BoG and the top eight for the Senate will be included in the re-vote, sources say that the re-vote is meant to include every candidate who initially ran in the election in March.