Vote discrepancies in Huron election

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

While main campus shrugged off the recent University Students’ Council presidential election, a far more interesting story was developing at Huron University College.

This year saw candidates Dan Moulton and Sharifa Mohamed battle it out for the presidency of Huron University College Students’ Council.

Though the dust has cleared, leaving Moulton the winner, rumours and allegations have been flying since the Feb. 11 election day.

The biggest complication arose soon after the polls closed, when leaked information indicated a number of unaccounted votes had made their way into the ballot box. Matters only worsened with further rumours that the ballot box was left unattended after the election.

“The chief returning officer’s list of eligible voters wasn’t complete,” Mohamed said. “There was a 42 vote discrepancy between the candidates.”

Kevin Kernohan, HUCSC’s chief returning officer, showed the list to Mohamed after he realized what had occurred. With Moulton winning by about 40 votes, some were becoming suspicious.

HUCSC President David Nugent explained what happened. “The problem was that our voters list, which is provided by the administration, did not contain upper-year students in residence and theology students, which both are eligible to vote.

“So the workers wrote down student numbers to be cross-referenced later on,” Nugent said. “There were 317 voters and 329 ballots. Therefore the balance was made up of those people in the so-called ‘grey zone.’”

Kernohan explained Mohamed had seen an earlier, inaccurate list.

The campaign also included other incidents, including extensive campaigning outside of the designated timeframe.

“There was a lot of talk of questionable actions on both sides and I gave the opportunity for both candidates to submit their complaints,” Nugent said. “Neither side decided to proceed as it [would] negatively affect both.”

Mohamed explained she was over the issue and wished no ill will toward Moulton. However, she felt the incident showed Huron should modify its elections system.

“I’m not asking for a revote,” Mohamed said, “but I think we should make a move to electronic voting.”

“I think the electronic voting is something we should be pursuing,” echoed Moulton. He added electronic voting at Huron would be one of the main goals during his term next year.

“I think [electronic voting] would clear up a lot of issues.”

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