Ballot appeal not sought for result

February 9, 2012
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 2 minutes

Brian Decker

Executive Editor


The McMaster Students Union Elections Committee did not receive any formal complaints about the 2012 presidential election, according to Chief Returning Officer Steven Thompson.

“We make a technical complaint system available so anyone can say if they think there’s anything wrong with the system. We didn’t get any official complaints this year,” said Thompson.

Complaints, which can be lodged within 48 hours of the election results, can be sent to request a recount or dispute the election’s results.

The absence of complaints comes despite candidate Alex Ramirez’s claim that the vote was “manipulated,” and that it was “literally impossible” that he received only the 704 first-place votes he tallied. Ramirez posted the claim as a blog entry on his campaign website and Facebook page.

Ramirez finished fifth in the election and was eliminated in the first round of voting.

“Far too many things happened during the campaign to have only generated 704 first place votes, and to have come in dead last,” said Ramirez on his blog, proceeding to list a number of circumstances during the campaign period that he believed indicated more students sending their votes his way.

Aside from anecdotes and some figures – the 5,200 pamphlets his team circulated and the 2,700 web page visits to his site on the two voting days – Ramirez did not list any evidence to explain how the vote would have been manipulated.

The 2012 vote was run by the website, which Thompson said has no access other than the accumulation and automatic calculation of votes.

A voting receipt that allows students to double check their ballot is also available on the site. Students can log in, check their ballot receipt and download a spreadsheet of the election results.

One possible source of contention over the vote’s result may have come from the timing of the vote’s switch to online-only. The system was changed from paper balloting to online on Jan. 20, one day after the all-candidates meeting and the announcement of the eligible candidates.

Additionally, Thompson said, candidates were notified of the possible switch to exclusively online voting at and prior to the all-candidates meeting, at which time the switch was contingent upon receiving permission from the Registrar’s office.

“It was unfortunate we had to do it sort of last-minute, but it was a choice between that and not going online when we had the ability to,” said Thompson

This year’s MSU presidential election saw a 33.4 per cent voter turnout – the highest since 1998 – and an all-time gross record with a total of 6,703 student votes.

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