An arbitration panel has found insufficient grounds to disqualify Woke UVic from the 2016 UVSS elections, and has overturned the previous rulings of the UVSS Elections Chief Electoral Officer and adjudicator, according to the UVSS Elections Office.
A second arbitration panel ruling also dismissed complaints that Encompass UVic went over their campaign spending limit.
Woke UVic back in the game
Woke UVic was initially disqualified for failing to provide written certification showing they did not exceed campaign spending limits as defined by electoral policy. The slate appealed Chief Electoral Officer Emma Hamill’s initial ruling, and then further appealed Elections Adjudicator Randy Park’s ruling in support of Hamill’s.
The issue then went to an arbitration panel, which consists of three individuals that operate at “arm’s length” from the UVSS electoral process. The panel is the last level of appeal, regardless of any decision to uphold or overturn previous rulings.
In the ruling, the panel writes that Woke UVic “acted in good faith” when submitting documents that they thought “satisfied both requirements of being an expense report and certification.” The panel further believes that “the disqualification error made was one of procedure” and was “neither substantive nor harmful” to the election’s integrity.
The panel’s final decision came after review of the previous decision documents and all relevant policy, as well as in-person interviews with Hamill, Parker, Woke UVic Campaign Manager Tribesty Nguyen, Woke UVic candidate Michelle Brown, Unite UVic candidate Nathan Butz, and Boma Brown, the latter two as accepted witnesses.
As a result of the ruling, Michelle Brown will take a seat on the incoming UVSS Board of Directors as a director-at-large, as was originally decided by the UVSS student elections.
Complaint against Encompass UVic dismissed
The second arbitration panel ruling regarded a complaint filed on March 5 alleging that Encompass UVic exceeded campaign spending limits. The complaint was originally dismissed by both Hamill and Parker, and after a formal hearing was held on Monday, March 21, the arbitration panel also dismissed it.
The ruling says that the supporting documents provided by the complainant did not meet the standards required for the arbitration panel to overrule both previous rulings.
“While thorough and complete, the [complainant’s] estimates of Encompass UVic’s campaign spending are speculative and not supported by impartial evidence indicating that Encompass UVic did in fact break Section 5.5 of the Electoral Policy Manual,” says the ruling.
Both decisions (hopefully) mark the end of a long, drawn out electoral process that continued nearly three weeks after the voting period on March 3, and was defined by numerous complaints, allegations, and accusations from one party to another.
The new board assumes their position this May. We’ll let you know if anything happens in the meantime.
Both arbitration panel rulings will be available on the UVSS Elections website.