With impeccable timing, the AMS chose the last Friday of the reading break to post a press release regarding allegations of voting irregularities in the last round of AMS elections. Due to the complete absence of details in the press release and the high potential for scandal, there has been quite a bit of speculation about what could possibly have gone on.

I’ll tell you now: I don’t actually know what’s going on, but at this point it seems fairly safe to say that electoral fraud has in fact occurred.

The people in the know are not talking. But there are some interesting tidbits that have emerged indicating that this Wednesday’s council meeting should be full of intrigue.

In a recent interview with Elections Administrator Isabel Ferreras, the question of whether or not electoral fraud has occurred seemed to be a moot point. The implication was that it had occurred, no doubt about it. When asked about whatever happened to the online voting system, Isabel said “it’s not accidental.” The Ubyssey has also reported the word “culprit” being used in discussions about the issue.

Instead, the tone of discussion focused much more on how the elections committee were going about determining the details and scope of the tampering. The independent auditor seems focused on this task. Everything seems to revolve around the online balloting system.

What has been revealed is that the fraud was not targeted to any portion of the ballot. It has to do with entire ballots being cast illegitimately. Therefore, every single thing on the ballot could be affected, from executive positions, BoG reps, Senate reps, to the single referendum that passed, and even VFM.

The voting irregularities were originally discovered by someone who is not a part of the elections committee and was brought to the attention of the elections committee during the first week of the reading break, after executive turnover had occurred. Oddly, Isabel said that whatever happened could only have been discovered by looking at detailed voting data. She also said the detailed data was not released publicly. So the tipster was somehow in a position to have access to the unreleased data while not being on the elections committee. When asked whether this person was a student, Isabel replied that she “can’t say”.

Following the tip-off, the elections committee starting looking into it very quietly. During the second week of the reading break, someone found out about it, and as a result the investigation was divulged to a few more people. The executive were informed officially on Feb 25, and the press release issued on the 26th. It has been promised that this Wednesday’s meeting will contain many more details, but not necessarily all of them, depending on how much the auditor has been able to discover. Despite everyone saying they’d like this dealt with openly, it seems likely council will want to go in camera for the discussion – for convenience if not necessity.

What happens next is anyone’s guess. The best case scenario is that the auditor can conclusively identify the fraud, the fraud is small, and does not affect any results. The AMS would have yet another elections scandal to their name but life would probably go on relatively smoothly.

On the other hand, if the result of an executive election ends up being changed or if an election victor is implicated, nobody knows what would happen given that the results were accepted by council and executive turnover has occurred. (Senate and BoG elections have not yet been ratified. If those results change it’s easier to modify the results before they get ratified, but it still might get messy.)

The worst case scenario would be if the independent auditor determines that fraud has occurred, but is unable to conclusively determine the scope of the tampering. In that case repeating the elections seems like it would be the only option – a very, very messy option.


1 Comment so far

  1. johnny harpoon on March 2, 2010 10:39 am

    oh, AMS. i fucking <3 you more than you could ever know.

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