ASFA Elections Called Into Question
Special Council Meeting Will Discuss Results Next Week
Two days after the results to the Arts and Science Federation of Associations general elections were released, the election process itself has been called into question.
A formal complaint, that was acquired by The Link, was passed onto ASFA’s Judicial Committee by the Chief Electoral Officer Samuel Miriello. The letter cited “failures to adhere to the Electoral Regulations as laid out in The ASFA’s Annex A,” which guides their election processes.
According to the complaint, the integrity of the ballot boxes were allegedly compromised. They were not locked, and had no slots to slip the votes, therefore polling clerks had to open the boxes to enter the ballots.
The boxes were also allegedly not sealed after a day of polling and were not accompanied by a campus security guard to and from the strong room, where they are securely kept.
Ballot boxes were also allegedly left unsealed with one person at polling stations, which is violation of Regulation 70 of Annex A that states that no box can be left with one person unless it is sealed.
“If one considers the open nature of the ballot boxes, [it] allows polling clerks to remove ballots, void ballots, enter fraudulent ballots at will,” the author wrote in the complaint letter.
Miriello, the CEO, said that ballot boxes were always transferred to secure boxes at the end of the day with campus security as witness. He added that budget issues contributed to the fact that he could not hire security guards to stand at polling stations or transport the box.
The lack of budget, he said, was a reason why there was only one person at polling stations at times.
“The CEO and [Deputy Electoral Office] did their best to be present as much as possible. We did the best we could to supervise the stations,” Miriello wrote in response.
There has been confusion on whether or not the CEO was allowed to extend polling after quorum was not met during the original three days, from March 21 to 23.
“Other years, we haven’t reached quorum, and this wasn’t a solution [then] so why would we be able to do it this year?” said Christina Massaro, current Vice President of Finance for ASFA.
In a Facebook post, Miriello said that polling would be extended after from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Friday, the day after polling was meant to close. Polling remained open until 2 p.m. according to a polling clerk in the Hall building on that day.
Miriello said that there were technical issues when counting the ballots.
“The computers that were being used double counted 13 people that were in double bachelors,” said Julia Sutera Sardo, outgoing Vice President Internal Affairs and Administration, and President-elect. “The computer counted them as different students. That’s why there were 13 votes lacking.”
In addition to regulating elections, Annex A serves to expand on any undetailed regulations in Annex C, which governs member association elections, and vice-versa according to Sutera Sardo.
Annex C states that polling in member association elections can be no fewer than two days, and no longer than three. It also states that in the event of a tie, polling can be extended for one more day.
Sutera Sardo also said that the CEO is able to do what he sees fit as long as it follows ASFA’s by-laws.
Annex A defines the polling period as “a period of three consecutive school days during which the polls in an election will be open no later than 10h00 and close no earlier than 20h00.”
“There are no stipulations in Annex A for extending the polling period for any reason,” which contradicts Sutera Sardo’s statement according to Chris Stephens, the president of Concordia Classics Student Association and a member of ASFA’s internal committee, which supports member associations with elections, reviews by-laws, and association accreditation.
Stephens added that there is some precedence as the internal committee has approved to extend polling for member associations who have not reached quorum.
To formally discuss the electoral process, and the election results, a special council meeting was called by ASFA, and will take place on April 6.