The entire Refresh UVic slate has been disqualified from the 2015 University of Victoria Students’ Society election. According to the vote counts, all 15 candidates, including independent Calder Brown, were unsuccessful in their bid for elected office; however, Chief Electoral Officer Shawn Slavin disqualified the candidates because they were late submitting their campaign spending receipts to the UVSS Elections Office.
The UVSS Electoral Policy states that “Candidates must submit copies of receipts for all of their campaign expenditures to the Senior Deputy Electoral Officer by no later than 7:00 p.m. on election date, and certify in writing that they have not exceeded the campaign spending limit.”
In an interview with the Martlet, Slavin says the deadline was set for Thursday, March 5 at 7 p.m., and the Refresh slate handed theirs in three minutes after the deadline.
“I was personally in the office after 7 o’clock when the receipts were submitted, at least when the Refresh receipts were received after the 7 o’clock deadline,” says Slavin. “They were aware that their receipts were submitted late.”
He adds that the candidates who were disqualified were not elected, but it still affects the election. “The rules are created by the UVSS Board of Directors and [the Elections Office is] just there to enforce those rules. The rules are very clear about deadlines for receipts.”
No members of the Refresh UVic slate responded to the Martlet’s requests for comment by press time, so it is unclear why the receipts were late. Preliminary election results were released around 10:30 a.m. on March 5 and had already ruled out victory for the Refresh candidates.
He says the Elections Office cannot change policy but is considering making a recommendation to ask for receipts before the end of the election period to alleviate the workload in the Elections Office.
“Disqualification of candidates takes a significant time, and when you’re disqualifying 15 candidates, I’m not sure what the rationale was for things being late, whether it was laziness or an oversight or whatever . . . it’s partly also to save our office some time by ensuring candidates do have their stuff in prior to them even knowing whether they were elected or not.”
There is an appeal process for candidates regarding the decision, but Slavin says no one has appealed.