Voting postponed amid election chaos
Concordia students will have to wait until January to vote in the Concordia Student Union’s (CSU) by-elections.
On Nov. 28, the union announced that their by-elections were to be postponed until January. During a meeting that night, council voted to address formal apologies to the candidates in the coming weeks. The union will also give them a 50 per cent raise on their campaign budgets for the rest of the campaign period. Finally, the polling clerks will be compensated their full wage for the hours they were assigned but didn’t complete on Wednesday and Thursday.
During the meeting, the CSU also agreed to implement online voting as a pilot project for the next by-elections. “It’s been something that [a lot of members] wanted and the whole point of this committee was for us to try and attempt to create online voting within the CSU,” said councillor Jad-Faraj Abi Semaan. “Ideally, it’s going to allow students to vote faster, it’s going to make it more accessible, cheaper and environmentally-friendly.”
The by-elections have been postponed due to several election procedure violations. Ballots were not admissible according to the CSU by-laws, voting forms containing ballots and students’s personal information were left unsupervised, and some polling stations ran out of ballots. One polling clerk told The Concordian that at one station, all ballots except those for the John Molson School of Business ran out at some point. “And by the time we got new ones, something else would run out,” they said.
Many of these mishaps were due to the resignation of the CSU’s CEO last Wednesday, forcing the union to act quickly. Claire Girard-Moreau was appointed as interim CEO last Friday.
This decision prompted debates regarding the legitimacy of Girard-Moreau’s election since she was part of the General Coordinator’s sorority, according to a public statement by the CSU. However, at the meeting, the CSU explained that the election of Girard-Moreau was in line with the union’s by-laws.
On Tuesday, the union’s interim CEO released a statement on behalf of the CSU detailing the causes of these mishaps. “Owing to the last-minute nature of my hiring, when my work officially commenced on Monday, November 26th, I became aware that ballots had not been ordered by the previous CEO, and could not be printed by November 27th at 9 a.m., when polls were scheduled to open,” wrote Girard-Moreau in an official statement on Facebook.
Students have been voicing their anger over the CSU’s handling of the election. “Many members of the CSU continue to think that thousands of wasted dollars is a minor error that comes with the job,” said Hudson Harris-Bytautas, a political science undergraduate student. “This attitude does not belong in the CSU, and people should be made to resign,” he said.
Girard-Moreau only holds her position as interim CEO until the end of December. For now, a vote was taken to determine a solution for preventing these kinds of mishaps in the future.
Archive graphic by Alexa Hawksworth.
A previous version of this article stated that the official by-elections period would start the week of Jan. 7, 2019, followed by the polling period during the week of Jan. 14. As of this writing, no dates have been set for either of these periods. The Concordian regrets the error.