Polling for Arts and Science Federation of Associations’ general election began today with the surprise resignation of the chief electoral officer.
Chris Webster stepped down from his position at 8 a.m. on Feb. 15, mere hours before polling stations were set to open. He is the second ASFA CEO to resign during this academic year.
ASFA President Alex Gordon said he did not expect Webster’s decision in the least.
“I can’t say I foresaw this happening,” he said.
Gordon explained that VP internal, Schubert Laforest, received a call from the former CEO tendering his resignation. Gordon described the feeling at the time as “a bit of a panic.”
He went on to say that he and Laforest had to spring into immediate action in order to get the stations situated across campus open in time.
“A lot of the leg work had already been done,” said Gordon. “There was already a schedule set up, ballots had been printed. It was just a matter of putting it all together.”
Gordon confirmed that during the electoral process, he had heard that Webster felt “unprepared” and “stressed,” but hadn’t been overly concerned by it.
Laforest said he was completely “blind-sided” by Webster’s decision and that getting things organized was a bit of a scramble.
“We had to start from scratch,” he said.
Laforest explained that Webster cited several reasons for resigning but he didn’t go into much detail.
“[Webster] said it was the atmosphere of the elections and how he was interacting with it,” said Laforest.
He also cited a disagreement between Webster and ASFA’s judicial board over an alleged campaign violation concerning one of the candidates, as being an influence in the decision.
Laforest said he did his best to facilitate the elections himself for the first day, but “I don’t want it to be a conflict of interest.”
Gordon explained that the executive would pick up the slack and that the three deputy electoral officers who sit on the elections committee would take over for Webster.
“So much of the work had already been put in,” he said. “It’s up to the executive to step up now.”
Chris Webster could not be reached for comment.