Privacy woes trail RSU election

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Some students’ votes weren’t kept secret in the recent Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) election, according to RSU board of director members.

“I had a student come up to me saying they weren’t going to vote because they said the voting wasn’t private,” says Liana Salvador, who was re-elected as vice-president of education.

Members of the board claim ballots were spoiled and voters’ privacy was infringed because of improper handling by poll clerks. The chief returning officer (CRO), who oversaw the election, presented recommendations for future elections last week.

Student groups director, Idil Omar, says first-day voters at the Ted Rogers School of Business Management were asked to sign their name and student number on envelopes containing their ballots.

This information was used to check the eligibility of voters when polling clerks couldn’t access the online student verification system.

Voters were supposed to place their ballots in an unmarked envelope and then in another with their name and student number on. This process was meant to keep voters’ identities anonymous, but Omar says this wasn’t the case.

“That’s not how they did it on the day. We had to put our names on the first envelope and our student number. They specifically told us to do that,” she says.

CRO Pablo Vivanco, says no such thing was seen when the votes were tallied.

He did see ballots spoiled because they lacked the required signatures of both polling clerks, but he chalked this up to a reasonable margin of error. Vivanco said the number of spoiled votes was minimal given the volume of ballots passed. ”

I’ve had enough experience in elections in Canada to know there’s times when even poll clerks in provincial or federal elections make errors.”

Still, community services faculty director Delia Sinclair says poll clerks should take their responsibilities seriously.

“The days may be long but they’re getting paid, so they need to do their job. A ballot getting spoiled because of their mistake is unacceptable.”


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