Disqualification upheld against finance coordinator candidate Danielle Vandolder-Beaudin
Seven of Cut the Crap’s eight candidates have been restored as victors in the Concordia Student Union’s (CSU) general elections, following a decision by the union’s judicial board on Monday night.
In a 14-page decision, the board unanimously decided that the disqualifications of Christopher Kalafatidis (General Coordinator), Patrick Quinn (Academic and Advocacy), Isaiah Joyner (External and Mobilization), Marin Algattus (Internal), Celeste-Melize Ferrus (Loyola), Eduardo Malorni (Student Life) and Selena Mezher (Sustainability) were unjustified.
However, the majority of the board ruled to uphold the disqualification of finance coordinator candidate Danielle Vandolder-Beaudin. The candidate with the second-most votes, Désirée Blizzard, was elected instead.
In a majority ruling, board members Kiana Soria-Dadson, Cassandra D’Errico, and Maahsin Zahid, agreed that Vandolder-Beaudin had violated polling regulations. These regulations forbid students from “pressuring individuals to vote in the presence of a candidate, campaign worker, or any other individual” and from “bringing the means of electronic voting to a voter.”
Sometime during polling period, between April 2 and 4, Vandolder-Beaudin contacted an anonymous student on Facebook messenger. “Hey! Have you voted in the CSU elections?” she asked. When the student responded they hadn’t, she sent them a list of the names of Cut the Crap’s candidates.
When screenshots of this conversation were leaked to Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Florian Prual, he disqualified every member of Cut the Crap. In a post announcing the disqualification, Prual cited the violation of the polling regulations.
The board ruled that Vandolder-Beaudin had displayed “a lack of integrity through the intent of her messaging.” After Prual notified her of her violation, Vandolder-Beaudin emailed him acknowledging her mistake and saying “I feel really bad about doing this.”
“By refraining from correcting this mistake, or notifying anyone of it, we believe that Danielle had the intent of letting this mistake follow through to benefit herself and her slate,” the board wrote.
The majority further ruled that disqualification was appropriate since Vandolder-Beaudin’s actions violated the spirit of the standing regulations “as regards the privacy, anonymity, and freedom from influence during the polling period.”
In a dissenting opinion, Cinthia Gonzalez and Shai Navi disagreed that Vandolder-Beaudin had pressured any voters. “We found that there was no significant proof of consistent coercion,” the opinion reads. They also ruled that Vandolder-Beaudin did not bring the means of voting to any students.
The board found the disqualification of the remaining candidates unjustified. “Due to the fact that the only evidence provided by Florian at the time of the disqualification was against Danielle, we, therefore, find the disqualification of the remaining seven members unjustified,” the decision reads. The CEO has 24 hours after issuing a disqualification to publicly announce the sanction, and must cite all evidence used in the decision.
In addition to ruling on the disqualifications, the board recommended that several clarifications be made to the standing regulations to prevent future incidents. These include the definitions of the terms “pressure,” “bringing the means of voting,” and “serious breach,” as well as the distinction between an individual and a slate.
Kalafatidis declined to issue a statement on the ruling.
Photo by Ian Down.