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Engineering elections contested

by Archives April 4, 2001
The results for the Engineering and Computer Science Association (ECA) general elections are in, but due to a number of perceived irregularities and by-law infractions the results are being contested by two of the challengers.
An official contestation was filed on Monday by ECA presidential candidate Mohamed Idlbi and ECA VP social candidate Lama Accary. Both are claiming that there were a number of infractions, which are directly opposed to the ECA electoral bylaws. They have called for the election results to be cancelled and
new elections be held. Both lost in their bids to become a part of the new ECA executive for 2001-2002.
“During the recent ECA elections, serious breaches of procedure occurred. We believe that these violations of procedure are of such a serious nature that they warrant the complete disqualification of the recent elections,” they said in a letter filed with ECA’s chief electoral officer Theodore Zambelis, CSU
president Rob Green and the Dean of Students Dr. Donald Boisvert.
While a legal action has not been filed, both Accary and Idlbi reserve the right to pursue the matter in a court of law.
However, Zambelis, in a response issued April 3, said his feeling towards that matter was that the complaint was “made in bad faith,” and an attempt to “discredit the election process.”
“I felt that because the outcome was not in their favour that these complaints were put forward,” he later said in an interview with the Concordian. He agreed to meet with the two to hear their concerns and has offered to show them the ballots cast, which are in a lock-up.
“We did our best to ensure the integrity of the vote as I mentioned above. I really think that you would be hard pressed to have found a more unbiased electoral committee than the one I oversaw.”
Among the infractions reported by Accary and Idlbi includes an E-mail from a fellow candidate James D’Silva encouraging students to vote for Mike Nimchuk and Tyson Clinton. The two also claimed that Nimchuk’s posters were a personal attack on Idlbi’s candidacy, using the slogan “no Moh imitations.”
They also claim current ECA executives were at the polling booths, including current president Mario Ciaramicoli and VP Jessica Greenberg. This was confirmed by signed statements from current Concordia Student Union VP’s Sabine Friesinger and Mistie Mullarkey.
Polling book not kept
Also, there was an absence of a poll book, which is a direct violation of ECA’s own bylaws. According to Accary and Idlbi, this infraction alone should be enough to have the election results thrown out.
In response, CEO Zambelis said: “This is a point in the bylaws that I purposely over-looked, for a very good reason. The ballots were numbered, therefore asking voters to sign a poll book could have easily led to the voters being identified according to the order of signatures (in the poll book).”
“To protect the voters anonymity and not to discourage voting, I decided that the poll book would not be used,” he added. Instead, the ECA poll clerks verified student identification cards and scratching the name of the electoral
list. Then, the individual was handed a numbered ballot and voted.
For his part, ECA outgoing president Mario Ciaramicoli said that he stands by the election results and added that the CEO has a certain amount of discretion when it comes to elections. But he admitted that the electoral bylaws may need to be looked at in the coming year to tweak any problems.
“We had honest people who ran and won,” said Ciaramicoli, who maintained that there are a number of instances which could have warranted the disqualification of the two complainant. “We didn’t do everything perfectly, but we did the best we could.”
Ciaramicoli said that both he and Greenberg had the right to be at the polling booths because both sit on the ECA electoral board.
Unusually high numbers There were reports that an unusually high number of votes were cast on the first day of the ECA elections. More than 278 votes were cast at the CSU booth in the
Hall Building. The CSU booth was also open four hours longer than the ECA booth, which struck both Idlbi and Accary as strange.
There were also reported long line-ups for CSU elections and very little traffic at the ECA booth, however this didn’t surprise Ciaramicoli.
“With 15 referendum questions, of course people would be standing in line for the CSU booth,” he said.

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