Home News Suzuki, Jerajian, Zahar come out on top in ASFA byelections

Suzuki, Jerajian, Zahar come out on top in ASFA byelections

by The Concordian October 18, 2011

A cloud of alleged violations may be hanging over the Arts and Science Federation of Associations’ byelections, but the winners and losers of last week’s race don’t seem duly concerned that the results might have been affected.

The VP communications and promotions race was the closest. Third-year English, art history and studio art student Alexis Suzuki edged out fourth-year communications student Katie Brioux with 209 votes, only twelve votes more than the 197 votes Brioux garnered. There were 98 abstentions. “I’m hitting the ground running and diving straight into working on my portfolio,” Suzuki wrote in an email after the results became known. “The elections for my position were very close, both my opponent and myself clearly worked very hard during campaign week and I consider myself to be extremely fortunate to have earned the position.”

Meanwhile, second-year actuarial math and finance student Paul Jerajian sailed through on a clear majority, wresting the title of VP external and sustainability from fourth-year biochemistry student Boris Degas with 236 votes. Nonetheless, Degas had the approval of 165 students, while there were 108 abstentions.

Jerajian wrote in an email that since he and Degas are on friendly terms, he can set about implementing some of the ideas his competitor wanted to initiate. Degas did not respond to a request for comment for this article.
Yasmeen Zahar beat opponent Sian Mill 222 votes to 135 for the independent councillor’s seat, while 147 students abstained.

Mill congratulated her opponent, adding that she looked forward to staying involved with ASFA.
None of the candidates interviewed for this article felt that the electoral violations really influenced the outcome of the elections.

Brioux, who said she was obviously disappointed by the results, didn’t think the allegations represented a huge deal. “Had I known about the weird things going on I might have been more suspicious but it seemed to go fine even though some of things weren’t proper, but it is kind of messy,” she said.

Independent councillor candidate Mill staunchly stood by ASFA chief electoral officer Marvin Cidamon, who told the Concordian he would take full responsibility for violating ASFA’s Annex A. “I think Marvin did a great job organizing and hiring for the elections, with the limited time he had. I do not think the alleged electoral violations would have changed the results,” Mill wrote in an email.

Jerajian agreed. “These violations may have been serious, but I sincerely think that the results would remain the same despite these violations,” he wrote.

Zahar was more on the fence than the other candidates in that respect. “Regarding the allegations, I think it is very difficult to tell whether certain aspects could have changed the outcome. However, I strongly believe that the ineligible poll clerk had no effect on the results,” Zahar wrote, adding “I think that the length of the polling period is the aspect with the biggest uncertainty surrounding it. Other than there being a larger voter turnout, it’s impossible to tell whether or not the outcome would have been different.”

Voters also approved the two referendum questions, which polled students on their feelings towards adding a “promotions” component to the VP communications’ portfolio and on giving the VP external & sustainability the clear responsibility of being the primary spokesperson for ASFA outside the university. Of the nearly 18,000 undergraduate arts and science students, a total of 512 turned out to vote in the byelections, or 2.8 per cent of ASFA’s members.

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