Spoiled ballots tarnish RyeSAC election

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By Kevin Ritchie

One of the losers in last week’s RyeSAC elections is considering asking for a recount because up to 60 ballots might have been spoiled.

Daniel Hornik, who lost the race for v.p. development and finance to Barbara Lozano by only 30 votes, said he’s not happy about how the election was run.

“I have heard numerous ballots were spoiled as a result of poll clerks not signing the ballots,” Hornik said.

His scrutineer, Kim Nagus, was in the room at Oakham House where ballots were counted. She said there were 25 unsigned ballots from the business building polling station alone—19 in favour of Hornik.

RyeSAC’s election procedures committee traditionally requires poll clerks to sign each ballot to ensure extras are not put in the boxes.

Hornik, a fourth-year business student, said he will meet with chief returning officer Jennifer McKenna before deciding whether to submit a formal complaint.

McKenna hasn’t officially counted the spoiled ballots and wouldn’t comment on how many there were. RyeSAC bylaws require all ballots, including spoiled ones, to be destroyed two weeks after an election, unless a written complaint is submitted.
If Hornik submits a letter, the election procedures committee must make a final decision.

V.p. development and finance-elect Lozano said a byelection should be called if spoiled ballots affected the results. “If you lose because a poll clerk made a mistake, that’s a serious issue,” she said.

But unsigned ballots are nothing new, former CRO Elliot Salmons said.
“If you get a flood of voters then you can end up with a situation where the clerk forgets to initial the ballot,” Salmons said. Like this year, the unsigned ballots during that election were counted as spoiled.
V.p. administration Atif Ashgar, who lost the presidential race by 35 votes to v.p. Education Cory Wright, isn’t worried about spoiled ballots.

“I don’t think we need to mar the election if the [unsigned ballots] make no difference in the results,” he said.

But Hornik had other complaints about the election. Some clerks accepted any photo ID, as required by the bylaws, but other polls would only accept student cards. McKenna, though, says she’s confident her poll clerks followed the rules.
Hornik also complained posters advertising the elections weren’t hung into the business building until 11:30 a.m. on election day. McKenna denies this, saying posters were up at 9 a.m.

“I’ll be either requesting a recount or a re-election,” Hornik said. “Until I find out the true results, I will not be happy with the decision.”

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