Unofficial results for the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) spring elections have not yet been published. The results were to be announced this weekend, but are now set to be announced at some point on Monday, March 17. In a statement posted on the UTSU website, Chief Returning Officer (CRO) Alex Flor wrote: “The delay is in respect to awaiting further information from the online voting company used for these elections.” Flor did not reply to further requests for comment.
The end of the election was marked by a spate of rulings from the CRO, which assigned several candidates demerit points for alleged violations of the Elections Procedure Code (EPC).
In a ruling dated March 14, Anna Yin, vice-president, internal and services candidate for Team Unite, was assigned 58 demerit points, bringing her total points to 63. Executive candidates are disqualified if they receive more than 35 points.
Yin received these demerits for allegedly claiming “that the UTSU membership fee was $345,” “that the UTSU has no report indicating where funds are spent,” “that UTSU’s largest expense is executive salaries,” “that the UTSU allowed the University of Toronto Mississauga to leave the organization in the past and divert fees to UTM,” “that the UTSU is preventing autonomous organizations from ‘leaving’ the UTSU by citing UTSU bylaws,” and “that a Student Society [sic] Summit was created to investigate undemocratic UTSU bylaws.”
Flor ruled that these statements constituted “misrepresentations of facts,” “intentional misrepresentation of facts,” and “gross misrepresentation of facts,” each of which is a separate infraction under the EPC. Flor also ruled that Yin’s alleged violations constituted “failure to comply with the spirit and purpose of the election” and “malicious or intentional violation of the EPC,” for each of which she received additional demerits.
The ruling stated that the CRO possessed “audio evidence of the alleged violation.” The ruling did not offer any quotations of Yin or details as to when or where these violations occurred.
Yin can appeal the ruling to the Elections and Referenda Committee (ERC). Yin declined to comment on the ruling or whether she would be seeking an appeal.
On March 3, Flor ruled that speaking to The Varsity regarding unresolved conflicts with her decisions constitutes “Failure to follow the grievance procedures outlined in the Elections Procedure Code or Policy,” an offence for which up to 15 demerit points can be assigned.
The election was complicated by severe winter weather, which forced UTM to close early on March 12. To compensate for this, the CRO reopened physical polls at UTM for five hours on Friday, while online voting and polls at UTSG, which did not close because of the weather, did not have extended hours.
Team Unite has issued a series of complaints in regards to this decision, and has claimed that they were not informed of an extra polling station opened on Friday at UTM. The team alleges that Grayce Slobodian, a current UTMSU executive as well as a candidate for Voice, was informed of the new poll (she posted on Facebook about it) prior to the start of voting, whereas they say that their team was not informed that there was another station for voting — and they consequently were unable to campaign there.
Seven other candidates received points in rulings issued Friday night. Yolen Bollo-Kamara and Cameron Wathey each received two points for misrepresentation of facts. The CRO alleges that one of U of T Voice’s volunteers “misrepresented their status as a University of Toronto student,” and found that, under the EPC, the candidates are responsible for the action of “non-arms-lengths parties.” It is unclear whether this ruling refers to Ryerson Students’ Union vice-president, equity Raejan Hoillett, who identified himself as a U of T student when approached by a reporter from The Varsity.
In a separate ruling, Yin received two points for campaigning in an unauthorized area, as did directorial candidates Ryan Gomes, Kevin Lunianga, and Silviu Kondan. Unite’s VP equity candidate, Balquis Hashiru and directorial candidate Abhi Amalsadia received points for using unapproved campaign material. Finally, Ryan Schwenger received points for unintentional misrepresentation of facts.
The ERC met on Sunday afternoon and into the evening, but had not released any rulings as of press time.