Election Do-Over After CEO Resignation
The unexpected resignation of Arts and Sciences Federation of Associations Chief Electoral Officer Chris Webster and other polling irregularities have led to the postponing of the ASFA general election until the first week of March.
The new election campaign period will run from Feb. 28 to March 4 and voting will take place from March 5 to March 7. Candidates have been asked to remove all prior campaign posters and will not be allowed to put up any new posters.
Webster cited personal reasons for his resignation and declined further comment.
Contacting ASFA’s VP Internal Affairs Schubert Laforest at 8:00 a.m. on Feb. 15—the first day of polling—Webster announced his resignation. All necessary documents were passed on and Laforest continued the election until the end of the second day when it was decided to postpone further voting.
“So many discrepancies came up due to the fact that there were a lot of things we didn’t know because we weren’t at the head organizing it,” said Laforest. “So we made the judgment call of just having to void the voting that took place.”
ASFA President Alex Gordon cited polling clerks improperly trained by the CEO, which lead to inconsistent procedure including booths being left unattended and technical issues.
Gordon said they are still waiting to meet with Webster and the electoral committee.
Webster’s resignation came in the wake of a controversy involving the ASFA Judicial Committee’s decision to penalize VP Academic candidate Eric Moses for filing an improper nomination form.
Moses had written that he was running for VP Internal rather than VP Academic.
Presidential candidate Caroline Bourbonnière said that his penalization by the JC for misrepresenting himself was “ridiculous,” calling it an honest mistake due to Moses currently holding the position of VP Internal for the Political Science Students’ Association.
Webster had told Moses that he would not be penalized for the error until the JC overturned his decision. Moses is currently appealing the decision, which would strip him of 65 votes from his total.
“The stressful nature of the position should be communicated to people who want to be appointed CEO,” said Bourbonnière, “I don’t think people have a good idea about it. He wasn’t expecting the Eric Moses situation and the Judicial Board not respecting his decision.”
No new dates have officially been chosen for a new election, which ASFA President Alex Gordon attributed to the upcoming Concordia Student Union general election, and a potential general strike in March.
There are three Deputy Electoral Officers working to pull the election together, as the association is not looking to hire a new CEO.
“ASFA, as an organization, needs to get its act together and needs to collectively come together and make this election successful,”
ASFA PResidential Candidate
There is no word yet on exactly how much the setback will cost. ASFA had budgeted $8,000 for the general election.
“Most of the money that was already spent was on advertising and polling clerks for the first day and three quarters,” said Laforest. “It’s going to be tricky. We’re going to have to do some financial maneuvering from ASFA’s administrative budget.”
Both Bourbonnière and her opponent Charlie Brenchley expressed their frustration with the postponement and the way it was handled by the current ASFA executive.
“It was kind of devastating to hear the news because we put our heart and soul into the campaign, and we put in so much energy as we are all very active students,” said Bourbonnière.
“ASFA, as an organization, needs to get its act together and needs to collectively come together and make this election successful,” added Brenchley. “That means getting the word out and using the resources that ASFA has. I haven’t seen a posting up yet on campus for these elections that are taking place in a week.”
It’s not the first time this year that ASFA has had trouble with their CEO. Webster’s predecessor, Marvin Cidamon, resigned in October after a complaint was filed regarding violations of ASFA bylaws in a byelection.