By Brennan Doherty and Dylan Freeman-Grist
Four scrutineers from the Transform Ryerson slate spent the night camped in front of the Ryerson Students’ Union office early on Thursday morning, after noticing open ballot boxes sitting in plain view just behind the office’s locked door.
The group of scrutineers arrived at the Student Centre around 2:30 a.m. to inspect SCC 202 — a room on the second floor where all of the ballots cast in the RSU election are being held, pending a two-week verification process by Ryerson University administration. The door has been fitted with a reinforced door-jam and security camera, and the room was watched by security guards from Monday to Wednesday.
But after checking out the room, they also decided to take a trip up to the RSU’s offices on the third floor—and found the boxes.
“We saw an open ballot box in there, as well as a couple of other lids of the boxes in [a] green carrier, which led us to believe that there are more boxes in there,” said Geoff Logan, one of the scrutineers. “This is not a secure location, and as a student, I am pissed off.”
They then called Ryerson security and requested access to the room to verify whether the boxes were empty. Two officers showed up, but refused to unlock the door—saying that the scrutineers had no right to gain entry to the RSU’s offices.
Scrutineers are officials used by parties or slates in student (and governmental) elections to ensure voting procedures are fair and adhere to the rules. For Ryerson elections, this would include overseeing the secure storage and transports of ballots. Eyeopener news editor Jackie Hong reported during live-blog coverage of the vote count that scrutineers were denied this right as ballots were being moved from SCC-202 to an office at 111 Gerrard Street East for counting.
One of the guards present said he personally escorted Chief Returning Officer Fatima Sajan while she stored the ballots in SCC-202, and insisted that the ballots are safe until administration can verify them.
This guard insisted that the boxes in the office had no ballots in them.
“Those are the empty boxes from all the ballots that set into the polling stations,” he explained to the group of scrutineers. “[Security] put ballots in 10 boxes, which are in [SCC-202]. The boxes that you’re seeing are—I don’t know what’s in them, but the ballots aren’t in them.”
Security didn’t explain how or why the cardboard boxes ended up in the RSU’s offices.