Concordia Student Union By-Elections Cancelled Last-Minute

Vote Delayed to Next Semester After Voting Procedures Were Not Followed

Ballots were left unattended on a polling station in the Hall Building lobby on Tuesday night. This file photo from our archives depicts the polling station located in the Hall building, where ballots were exposed. Archive Tristan D’Amours

The Concordia Student Union’s by-elections have been delayed until January.

This article has been updated

On Tuesday night, CSU Chief Electoral Officer Claire Girard-Moreau wrote in a statement that the elections have been delayed because ballots were not numbered appropriately. She also said technical difficulties arose with the computers used to verify the identity of voters.

Photos soon circulated on the Facebook page Spotted: Concordia showing a number of ballots left unattended on a table previously used that day for polling in the Hall Building lobby. One student told The Link they had seen the ballots unattended at around 9 P.M. on Tuesday night.

Ballots are seen unattended on a polling station in the Hall building around 9 P.M. on Tuesday night. Courtesy Spotted: Concordia

Girard-Moreau said she had a difficult time fulfilling the job given the “last-minute nature” of her appointment. On Monday, the previous CEO Viktoriya Kadzhiyeva—who resigned after the CSU’s special council meeting on Nov. 21—did not order the ballots. As a result, when Girard-Moreau came in ballots could not be printed by the time polls were scheduled to open on the morning of Nov. 27.

“In the past, CEO’s have had voting ballots printed through an independent printing company,” she wrote. “It was therefore decided that I would personally oversee ballot printing at the CSU, and it was during this rushed design process that I overlooked the requirement for ballot serial numbers.”

According to the CSU’s election regulations, serial numbers must be included to ensure that election fraud isn’t committed.

Ballots are seen unattended on a polling station in the Hall building around 9 P.M. on Tuesday night. Courtesy Spotted: Concordia

Girard-Moreau wrote that deputy electoral officer involved in planning the vote as well as “several” previous candidates declined to take the position before she was appointed on Nov. 23.

Girard-Moreau also revealed other challenges encountered by the team tasked with organizing the election. “One candidate’s biographical information was miscommunicated, and a polling location in EV building was not provided with candidate bios,” she continued.

Girard-Moreau said the voting window was also reduced by several hours due to “technical difficulties [that arose] with the computers to verify the identity of voters.”

Given the circumstances, Girard-Moreau came to the decision to postpone the by-election until January. With the final day of classes on Dec. 4, she said “there is simply not enough time left in the current semester to coordinate fair and democratic elections over three consecutive days.”

“I acknowledge that I am partially responsible for the way these events have transpired, and I apologize for the inconvenience and confusion which has resulted,” continued Girard-Moreau. “Despite my best efforts to pick up where the previous CEO left off and make the elections happen as scheduled, I strongly believe that postponing them until January is the best course of action, and will allow for the fairest possible elections.”

On Wednesday afternoon, the Coalition Avenir Québec Concordia chapter posted a statement, signed off my President Julian Leblanc and Vice President Simon Faucher via Spotted: Concordia stating their disappointment with the election delay.

The group wrote the postponement of this week’s by-elections is “unacceptable and insulting to students.”

“Yesterday, the CSU announced that the by-elections would be postponed obviously due to a lack of communication, skills and leadership on the part of the student union,” read the statement.

After publishing the statement, CAQ-Concordia said they plan to reach out to other active political organizations to on campus to “join forces” and listen to their proposals before proceeding to making “firm requests to the CSU.”

Among CAQ-Concordia’s demands is electronic voting for elections and a reform on the selection of the CEO. A switch to online voting for CSU elections was originally going to be voted upon during the by-election.

“We will ask for meetings with the CSU so that concrete actions are taken to remedy the situation.”