CRO rules on SA election infractions

Act Now’s Riddhi Modi and nine members of the V3 slate have been sanctioned for breaking rules in the Student Association elections

Updated Friday, April 7 at 9:51 p.m. with comment from Riddhi Modi

In a heated election campaign plagued by claims of interference with campaign posters, the chief returning officer has given 10 candidates from two slates demerit points for election rule infractions.

Charles Wilson, the chief returning officer for the Student Association’s (SA) election, published rulings on the conduct of candidates Friday afternoon, as the votes for the election were still being counted. The SA funds The Dialog.

Wilson gave Riddhi Modi, Act Now’s candidate for director of communications and internal, five demerit points for “improper display of campaign materials” for wearing an Act Now campaign shirt into the SA office on Tuesday, April 4.

The ruling stated that Modi was allowed into the SA office to sign cheques and contracts as part of her role as the current director of communications and internal.

Inside the office Wilson said that Modi displayed her Act Now slate t-shirt and used an SA computer to send election-related emails.

“While I understand that the contravention may not have been intentional, the use of office resources during the election period has been an issue of great and heated debate and these have been the subject of several rulings of the chief returning officer,”  wrote Wilson in his ruling.

Modi told The Dialog that the CRO’s ruling was “absolutely” fair, she knew that distribution of campaign materials inside the office was not allowed but said she didn’t have another shirt to wear and had been called in by SA management to urgently sign a cheque.

Modi said she waited until after the office had closed so no students or poll clerks would be in the office and that she had no intention of promoting her candidacy while she was there.

Modi disputed the claim that she had used an SA computer to send an email to the elections committee saying that while she turned on a computer, she realized that she needed to send it from her phone in order to attach photos that were on her phone.

A number of candidates from the Values, Voices, Virtue (V3) slate were found to have used too many banners and the wrong type of tape in the election by  Wilson.

Wilson gave the following V3 candidates four demerit points for “multiple violations in the same building” by putting up posters on surfaces other than cinderblock walls and for using scotch tape, which could damage the paint, on March 29.

  • Mercedes Burrowes, director of campus life candidate
  • Sheldon Mortimore, director of equity candidate
  • Calvin Bartholomew Soto, St. James campus director candidate
  • Tisha Graham, community services and early childhood education candidate

Wilson gave the following candidates four demerit points for “improper distribution of campaign material” because they posted five banners for their slate instead of the maximum of three on Sunday, April 2.

  • Harjit Singh Dua, director of communications and internal affairs candidate
  • Mercedes Burrowes, director of campus life candidate
  • Sheldon Mortimore, director of equity candidate
  • Mitchell Toye, director of education candidate
  • Tisha Graham, community services and early childhood education candidate
  • Charlie Tookalak, accessibility representative candidate
  • Kushagra Manchanda, international students representative candidate
  • Sabrina Mohammed, black students representative candidate

“Little infractions like banners and posters I don’t think that really shows that we were trying to be dirty in any way, shape or form,” said Burrowes “But we were really just so excited about our campaign that we kind of went a little bit overboard with the rules that we did break.”

Burrowes, Mortimore and Graham now have a total of eight demerit points. Under the election rules executive candidates are disqualified if they reach a total of 35 demerit points and other candidates are disqualified if they reach a total of 20.

Voting in the SA elections ended at 4 p.m. on Thursday and results have not been released as of publication.

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CRO rules on SA election infractions