The period for the 2008 AM elections was punctuated by numerous irregularities of various sorts. When problems arise in elections, or in other matters of stuff that goes against the AMS Bylaws or Code, complaints can be brought to a group of people called the “student court”. These are seven people, typically law students, that interpret the code, and make rulings based on it in whatever dispute is going on. The Student Court is comprised of one Chief Justice (who has to be in third year law) and six other students. They’ve got the ultimate say on interpreting AMS bylaws and code. AMS council can overrule Student Court rulings, but usually doesn’t. Elections-related complaints first go to the election appeal committee. This committee consists of the Elections Administrator, Chief Justice, and a representative of the person with the complaint (other than themselves). If this committee can’t decide what to do, or if the person appeals their decision, the issue goes to all of the Student Court.

Current challenges/complaints that I’m aware of (there may well be more):

VP Academic race: A complaint pertaining to this race has been submitted. I don’t know by whom, or any details. The VP academic race was particularly close, with only 30 votes separating the winning candidate, Alex Lougheed, from the runner-up, Nate Crompton.

VP Admin race: Mike Kushnir, the candidate that ran as “scary” Mike “the rabbi” in the VP admin race, is filing a complaint about the cancellation of this race, in opposition to code. Specifically, he wants the results from WebVote released. To quote the formal complaint he submitted to the elections committee a few days ago:

I am not looking to have the VP-Admin election declared valid. I am simply looking to have the election results released. I would like to have Stephanie Ryan appointed as my representative to the Elections Appeal Committee.

BoG race/ general: According to sources, one of the winners of the BoG race sent out an email to members of the Greek system, stating that he was the only fraternity member running for BoG. This turns out to be factually incorrect, since Andrew Carne is also a fraternity member. Omid Javadi, the EUS VP external, who is filing a complaint about this and more general matters pertaining to the conduct of the Elections Administrator is on the record saying the following:

Brendan does not deserve a penny of the honorarium he is supposed to get. The election results should be invalidated, simply because democracy was not achieved with this election. He provided no services to this society, and as such, should not be paid. This sort of ineptitude should never be seen again.

Details are still fuzzy, since I can’t find a list of current Student Court members, and the Election Administrator isn’t answering my emails. Speaking of the EA, rumors are flying that council is going to try and fire Brendan Piovesan, this year’s EA, at tomorrow’s council meeting.

In any event, elections results are only official after council approves them. As long as there are unresolved Student Court challenges pending, this won’t happen, so the elections results are still very much in question. Hopefully this won’t spell a huge delay for Executive turnover.


11 Comments so far

  1. Gerald on January 30, 2008 6:47 am

    I’d be surprised if someone didn’t petition to toss the paper ballots due to one clerk’s attempts to influence the voters, as seen in this facebook note and in the comments on this Devil’s Advocate post.

    it’s a shame I have to close the shop tomorrow, or I’d go to the meeting and take pictures.

  2. Mike Thicke on January 30, 2008 4:41 pm

    From reading the Devil’s Advocate comments, I can’t see how you could count the paper ballots. A clerk openly admitted he told voters who to vote for. That is beyond incompetent. What a disaster.

  3. Anonymous on January 30, 2008 5:15 pm

    A complaint because someone sent out a factually incorrect e-mail?

    Yikes. Your remedy in that situation is to CORRECT THE E-MAIL, not have the election overturned.

    Has it really come to this? Just because the student court is there, doesn’t mean you should use it. Let them focus their energies on the complaints that matter.

  4. Anonymous on January 30, 2008 9:36 pm

    Other specific problems identified with the election:

    1. Lougheed, Rob McLean and Rodrigo all identified multiple positions on their posters. According to the following section of code, this is forbidden:

    “In the event of a candidate running for both an executive position and a University position, they must not list more than one position campaigned for on any piece of printed campaign material including printable electronic material”

    2. Erin Rennie’s presidential poster did not have the elections website anywhere on it. Electoral code requires a link to to be displayed on every poster.

    3. Tim Blair had posters on concrete pillars in Forestry. This is in violation of the university postering policy. Of course, many other candidates slipped posters into locked display cases that were clearly marked as for department use or other specific purposes only, which also violates said postering policy.

    4. Michael Duncan and Bijan had 11×17 posters up in a classroom for a day, until the EA discovered that code did indeed forbid this and reminded candidates. They were taken down after the message, but they were still up for the better part of a day despite being forbidden by code. Freeman Poritz had 11×17 posters in many classrooms on campus even after the EA reminded candidates to take them down.

    I’m not trying to bash on any particular candidates here as these are just the few examples of problems that I noticed. I am sure there are many other issues with the postering conducted in this election, as well as many other issues with other parts of the election. Not to mention that all of the above posters (I assume) were approved by the EA. But, I guess this doesn’t come as much of a surprise since we already know he’s never read the Electoral Code.

  5. Shawn Stewart on January 30, 2008 9:39 pm

    Andrew Carne is a great candidate, but he is not a greek candidate. The engineering fraternity has never wanted anything to do with the IFC and vis a vis. That challenge in particular is totally nuts- and indicative of the type of politics that has become far too common place in the ams. But that’s just how I feel.

  6. Andrew Carne on January 30, 2008 9:53 pm

    The only problem that I would actively complain about was the method of paper balloting. I would be rather interested to see the vote breakdowns by paper and electronic ballot, as people have indicated to me that it would have been ridiculously easy to stuff the ballot box (on paper). But, as nobody really has the time available to continue arguing all this, we’re probably best to just move on.

    I also have been ignoring this debate over irregularities up till now because I don’t want to appear to be a sore loser. I lost, it’s over, whatever. I’ll try again next year. So for now, lets all move on with other things.

  7. Patrick on January 31, 2008 9:42 am

    Wikipedia is telling me Sigma Phi Delta is a member of the north american frat association thinger…

    I mean, wiki could be wrong, but you never know.

    Also, I think its hard to say that a fraternal organization known as ‘Sigma Phi Delta’ isnt ‘greek’ enough…

    Im just sayin is all.

  8. Anonymous on January 31, 2008 7:52 pm

    Patrick — Sigma Phi Delta might be ‘greek’, but that doesn’t make it a part of the greek system. The 9 frats of IFC and the 7 Panhellenic sororities make up their own tight-knit community, through which they work together and play together, and openly support one another at events. While ΣΦΔ may technically be a greek frat, it’s not a part of this community. Therefore, in the eyes of those who were sent the email, Andrew Carne is not, in fact, Greek.

  9. Anonymous on February 1, 2008 2:28 am

    To clarify an above post, it should be noted that Stefanie Ratjen, in addition to Mike and Bijan, also had 11×17 posters in classrooms, and DID NOT remove them during the campaign (they were up for over a week of the campaign) – they still were in my classroom at the beginning of this week.

  10. brendon goodmurphy on February 1, 2008 7:18 am

    Important clarification: Council does not ACCEPT results in any shape, way or form. Council doesn’t meddle with elections, its bad practice.

    Council recieves a presentation of the results from Council, and then the results become official. The only power Council has is to delay the presentation.

    In this week’s Council meeting, it was mutually agreed that the presentation would wait until student court decisions are made.

  11. brendon goodmurphy on February 1, 2008 7:19 am

    * Council recieves a presentaiton of the results from the Elections Administrator… sorry.

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