Kaled’s Disqualification: Is it too Little, too Late?

As Featured on Smoke Radio

Kaled Mimouni, the Presidential candidate for the Your 5 slate, has been disqualified for encouraging students to vote for him, at the point of voting – a breach of election rules 2.1. His votes will be discounted and transferred down (so anyone who voted Kaled as their number one preference, will have their votes sent to their second candidate).

The complaint that lead to this disqualification also claims that Kaled was not only getting students to vote for him, but “forcing them to vote for all of his candidates” despite voters saying that they don’t even know who the other candidates were.

The reason that the returning officer opted for disqualification is so that any potential votes he gained using this method will be discounted and not affect the election result. But if he is running on a slate, and those slate members have gained votes by his misconduct, does that not call into question their vote count as well?

Jayesh Gohil, running on the Your 5 slate for VP of Marylebone, also features heavily in this complaint. He is accused of sending members of his campaign team up to the library to gain votes. Charlie Newson, his opponent, witnessed a Your 5 campaigner getting several students in the library to log in so they could vote on their behalf. He claims that Jayesh was seen “authorizing and ordering” the campaigner to go to the library.

Voting online was implemented this year to save money, making it more accessible to voters on study abroad schemes and other students who can’t get to the campus. It also, of course, makes counting the vote easier and quicker. However, are these blatant breaches proving to be too much of a risk to the credibility of the outcome? It seems this problem was not anticipated as candidates were only banned from canvassing with tablet computers,  laptops, and other portable devices yesterday. If cheating has occurred on this scale all this week, as we come to the end of the elections, was this rule implemented too late?

“Influencing students by using the position, mirroring the controversy surrounding Sab endorsements, the final step would be to start endorsing herself, this utterly disgusted me. Something must be done on the illegality about the Your5 Slate – Adeel Anwar”

In another potential breach, Your 5 candidate Miriam Hanna has been seen campaigning from within the Student Union pod at Cavendish, by her opponent Adeel Anwar. He also claims that she has been using her official @UWSU_VPofCav to further her campaign as well.

The tweets below from the official @UWSU_VPofCav clearly include the #Vote1Your5 Hash Tag.

Screen shot 2013-03-14 at 15.13.12

The election guideline document states in Point 1. 3

“1.All candidates should have equal and fair access to be able to communicate with students

3.Current officers or students in a position within the union or university should not use that position to advantage themselves”

Miriam also has a personal account, @Miriam_Hanna, which she uses for non-student union related tweets. As she is using her @UWSU_VPofCav account to discuss the election, and in one, include the #vote1your5 hashtag, it appears she has used her position within the union to advantage herself and her slate.

With these clear breaches in mind, must we consider whether or not tomorrow’s results will be fair and representative?