UWSA by-election ratified

The University of Windsor Students’ Alliance narrowly voted in favour of approving the results of its October by-elections despite concerns over votes for the senator positions.

UWSA council has ratified the by-elections senate positions despite law students being unable to participate in the vote • photo Darryl Gallinger UWSA council has ratified the by-elections senate positions despite law students being unable to participate in the vote • photo Darryl Gallinger

By-election draws fire from councillors over law students being unable to vote

Darryl Gallinger
NEWS EDITOR

The University of Windsor Students’ Alliance narrowly voted in favour of approving the results of its October by-elections despite concerns over votes for the senator positions.

Law students were excluded from voting for the senate position in the by-election. Chief Returning Officer Ebenezer Fordjour became aware that law students were unable to vote for senators during the last hours of the voting period. He fixed the online system error so that they could vote for the remaining time.

Some student representatives argued at a council meeting last week that the senate positions needed to be re-run because students had been unable to vote. After considering the polling error, the UWSA council ultimately disagreed, voting 10 to eight in favour of the CRO’s election report.

Senate candidate John Weedmark-King lodged an appeal with the CRO over the results. “I received complaints from law students and I said, ‘I’m going to bring forth your appeals because you guys should’ve had the opportunity to vote,’” said the fourth-year political science student. He also informed the CRO that students were not e-mailed about the by-election, as is mandated by UWSA bylaw.

“I received those appeals and took them into consideration,” said Fordjour during the Nov. 1 emergency council meeting, which was called to ratify the election. “The amount of law students that actually voted for [the law rep]– I took that and doubled that amount. If that number had been added to the runner-up for senate, it still would not have made a difference … I didn’t find any unfair advantage when all law students were unable to vote.”

Mohammed Almoayad, a UWSA representative, said during the meeting that he was initially concerned about the by-election but the CRO’s reasoning made sense. “I think it’s unfair to senators who were elected (to throw out the election),” he said.

Hussein Zharif, who won one of the two senator positions, said at the meeting, “You’re punishing me and giving my opponents another chance to win. Even if you gave my opponents all the law votes, I still would have won. I did nothing wrong.”

Jake DeJong, a fourth-year political science student present at the meeting, said had law students been informed about the by-election there might have been a greater turnout amongst them.

Fordjour assured council the e-mail had been sent out.

“Elections policies fell through,” said Weedmark-King after the meeting, adding that he was disappointed with council’s decision.

“The ratification of the senate position is beyond me,” said DeJong. “It’s no fault of the CRO, and I’m not blaming anyone individually … something happened, and it snowballed into a situation where a full faculty could not vote for the senator position.”

Fordjour was satisfied with council’s decision, but he felt that the UWSA needs to do things differently. “I didn’t receive any help,” he said, adding that he wished there had been better communication.

“[The voting system] does a good enough job, but it’s not perfect,” Fordjour .

If students change from full- to part-time status after the CRO receives the file for who’s eligible to vote from the registrar, they’ll be able to be vote. Part-time students who become full-time students will be unable to vote, but the voting page notifies them to contact the CRO to sort out issues.

Students at the Schulich School of Medicine also have difficulty voting in UWSA elections. According to UWSA representative Osman Raza, Medical student pay fees to the UWSA, but because they are enrolled at a program through Western University their information is not sent over by that school’s registrar’s office. Raza said the difficulties have been worked out with the School of Medicine, the CRO just needs to implement the changes in the next election.

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