Final round results
As the decision to disqualify Jamie Scudamore was reversed by the Election Appeals Committee, he has been elected President and all of the results from the polling period stand. R.O.N was out of the running first. In the next round Ben Hall and Rory Stobo were out of the running, which meant there was three candidates in the final round:
After the result of this particular election was announced, I had several questions. A number of rumours were being circulated and I wanted to make sure I had the truth before blogging anything. Yesterday I sent an email to Alex Hamilton (the UST and Deputy Returning Officer), containing the questions that I had and I got the following responses this morning:
Are the minutes of the EAC going to be published on hullstudent?
I'll have to check with Paul what the availability of closed committee minutes is. The reasons to go into closed session were the reports of what has happened previously in EACs, regarding intimidation of the EAC by the behaviour and amount of people present (Amy had arrived with about 15 very vocal supporters); also some of the evidence given would be prejudicial against one of the complainants if the EAC decided to re-run the election so it was deemed unsuitable to be heard publically.
Is it true that there was a 12-0 vote in favour of Jamie Scudamore winning, despite him breaking rules?
The vote was 10-0 as only ten could make the meeting (quoracy is seven). They decided that the infringements during the election that were dealt with to the RO’s satisfaction were not grounds to exclude him and that the only unresolved issue, the one for which the RO excluded the candidate was insubstantial, especially given the circumstances in which it was initiated.
Was the EAC called because he was canvassing (e.g. knocking on doors) in areas where he wasn't supposed to?
It was not. There has been a rumour of a local council byelaw prohibiting this, but no proof has been offered. I have myself researched this and the only thing I could find was a byelaw preventing the employment of children for door knocking/ canvassing without an adult present; which would of course imply that adults can do so.
There have been accusations of rigging (I'm not going to name anyone). Can I get your confirmation that it was completely random selection that decided who was part of the EAC?
I can confirm the students were entirely random, as the Chair of Council (Paddy) and James Brooks can attest to.
The process I used to select the students was http://random.org/integers/ to generate 200 random positive integers, these numbers then corresponded to a cell on an excel spreadsheet of all students, which has them listed 1-17000ish. These names were then checked against the list of candidates, proposers and seconders. I then sent an email to these students explaining the situation (an appeal had been made which required adjudication). I also checked the respondents’ facebooks for any campaign ties, and then found a time that at least 7 could make to hold the meeting. I also did not know any of the EAC.
I must also point out that I refused to release the names of the EAC prior to the meeting, despite threats of a motion of no-confidence against myself (which was subsequently made) from Amy’s campaign team, notably Sam Greenwood.
What are your thoughts on the decision of the EAC to elect Jamie?
I am of course impartial to any proceedings during the election period. I am satisfied though that the EAC carried out their duty satisfactorily and professionally.
Alex finished off the email by stating:
"There have been a great deal of rumours surrounding the President election (as there are almost every year), this year I feel the difference is that two actively political campaigns have not succeeded against what is seen as an outsider to HUU politics, and due to the last minute resignation of the previous RO, a Sabbatical needing to take on the deputy duties, as I am available on campus during the period – as a result the parties involved moved their attentions from campaigning for a victory to undermining the processes involved.First of all I have to thank Alex for taking the time to answer the questions. It would have been easy to ignore them and keep speculation circulating around the union.
The recently elected Officers have a massive democratic mandate as a result of our highest ever turnout, and as such it is a shame that some groups within our democratic structures are intent on ignoring and undermining this."
Despite the detail of these responses, I still have some concerns. Kat Docherty was only present on the results night and there is no evidence to suggest she was present at the EAC to justify her decision. His refusal to release the names of the EAC is also worrying.
There is only his word which states the membership wasn't rigged in any way. This doesn't help to make the union transparent and also means there is nothing to prove that what he says about committee selection is correct. In the past, I have seen EAC membership announced and it's even more important given that there's a no-confidence motion against him.
In point 3, he stated that he could not find evidence to prove that the accusation about canvassing was against the rules. After searching election laws, Standing Order 2003 (governing elections) and the HUU Bye-laws I could not find anything either. If there is proof - then please leave a comment on this blog post.
If there's no proof of that though, what was the reason for the initial disqualification? This needs to be stated to make sure the union remains transparent.
Alex also mentioned the subject of the previous RO (Paul Tatton), resigning from that position. Even though Alex felt an impartial replacement needed to be found, this does not mean that he should necessarily be the automatic choice as a deputy. As I have stated in a previous blog post, theoretically he could influence the result and (as he rightly states), executive officers are meant to be impartial.
I have asked other people what they feel about the decision to elect a candidate who was initially disqualified. One person said:
"I think its rightI replied by stating that "while it's true that there is no proof that the two things are linked, is it right that a person who was initially disqualified should be elected?". The person said:
There is no way you can say that the number of votes cast has been dramatically affected by what happened.
His vote count was far too high for that."
"i still feel it was in the best interests of the students and the union itself"It is an interesting point. Not being able to found out who can rightly call themselves President as soon as possible can have a huge impact. It affects training schedules, teamwork and could potentially mean voters lose faith in the union's ability to manage itself properly.
However, it is important that those who are elected have the right to hold that position and all necessary steps need to be taken to ensure that.
Summary and Conclusion
I would say that the biggest problem is communication. As I have mentioned, there is evidence of a lack of transparency and people need this to know that their votes have meaning. There needs to be appropriate publicity for all elections and all info that is published needs to be 100% accurate.
The presidential election could have been handled better, but I applaud Alex for giving answers to important questions in an effort to reduce the number of concerns people have. If you have any issues with the election, it is always important to contact the RO or the deputy.
It will be interesting to hear what happens with the no-confidence motion. There seems to be a large amount of support for it, but will people give up as the election process is now completed?
So, what do you think?
Technorati tags: Election, HUU, Politics, Student Unions, President