UPDATE March 23: The disqualification has been overruled.
On Tuesday, March 8, the UVSS Elections office announced that the entire Woke UVic slate had been disqualified from the UVSS student elections.
The results for Senate and Board of Governors elections were released, with little fanfare. But we’ll get to that.
Slate disqualified, but appeals ruling
Zoë-Blue Coates, a Unite UVic candidate for Director-at-large, was elected in place of disqualified Woke candidate Michelle Brown, having received the next highest number of votes (853).
According to an issue filing on the UVSS Elections Office website, Woke was disqualified for failing to provide written certification showing they did not exceed campaign spending limits.
The issue apparently came out of a misinterpretation of electoral policy, specifically the role of a campaign manager versus the role of candidates. The filing states that Woke campaign manager Tri Nguyen “did certify that the slate as a whole did not exceed the spending limit.”
But electoral policy explicitly outlines that “candidates . . . must certify in writing that they have not exceeded the spending limit.” Because no candidates submitted their own documents, the slate was disqualified.
Woke UVic filed an appeal against the disqualification, but an adjudicator ruling dated March 10 determined that the slate failed to comply with Election Policy section 5.5.c., upholding UVSS Elections Chief Electoral Officer Emma Hamill’s ruling.
Randy Park, Elections Adjudicator, wrote that they “cannot fully disagree . . . that the definition of the role of the campaign manager may be a difficult one to determine.”
“Having said that,” they continue, “there are policies which leave little room for wide interpretation,” using section 5.5.c is an example.
Nguyen said that the slate is in the process of further appealing the decision. According to electoral policy, candidates can further appeal adjudicator rulings to an Arbitration Panel. That process is ongoing this afternoon.
This is the second year an entire slate has been disqualified over spending receipts. The entire Refresh UVic slate was disqualified last year for submitting their campaign spending receipts to the UVSS Elections Office later than the required 7 p.m. deadline.
Board of Governors and Senate results released
The final results of the UVic Board of Governors and Senate elections were also released sometime last week, much to our ignorance. (These things aren’t announced, usually.)
Sara Maya Bhandar and Ben Lukenchuk were both elected to sit on the Board of Governors with 829 and 933 votes, respectively. 3 064 votes were cast in total making for 14.7 per cent voter turnout.
Alicia Armstrong, Paige Bennett, Michelle Brown, Zoë-Blue Coates, Ben Lukenchuk, Brontë Renwick-Shields, and Susan Timayo were each elected to Senate. 2 867 eligible voters cast their ballot, resulting in 13.7 per cent voter turnout.
The full results, including acclaimed candidates, are available at the UVic Secretary’s website.