Second appeal prompts constitution change

Deadline to be imposed on appeal submissions

Jody White – The Aquinian

A second granting of a re-vote appeal has led to a motion to amend the Students’ Union constitution.

Last week, Mitchell Messom, who lost to Ella Henry in the VP Education race, submitted an appeal for a re-vote on the same grounds that Craig Mazerolle launched his appeal, except for the argument that ballots didn’t include his entire name.

“I’m essentially appealing on the same grounds that Mr. Mazerolle appealed on. There were systematic problems,” Messom said.

He said that he lost to Ella Henry by the same margin that Mazerolle lost to Henick in the presidential race.

“I have roughly the same loss by the same amount of votes… and I thought in order for it to be fair, I should run again,” he said.

The appeal hearing took place Saturday night. Messom argued he should be granted a re-vote on the same grounds that Mazerolle was granted one. The respondent, Chief Returning Officer Ryan Baxter, offered no defence.

“What we’re hearing today … are the exact same issues that were previously addressed,” Baxter said. “I do not deem it necessary to [offer] a defence.”

Baxter criticized Messom for waiting six weeks after the election to submit an appeal.

Messom said he didn’t know about the violations until last week.

“My argument is essentially that I didn’t know [about the violations] until it was proven in Mr. Mazerolle’s [case],” Messom said.

The appellate board ruled in favour of Messom but said he should have come forward earlier with his appeal.

“We all agreed with what [Baxter] said about a delay of time between when the election happened and when you launched your appeal,” said Mike Bell, the Chief Appeal Officer.

Bell said there should be an amendment to the appeal bylaw that includes a deadline for appeal submissions.

SU President Duncan Gallant said he agrees with Bell.

“We are an institution that needs to get work done. We can’t have appeals popping up in the middle of exams or in the summer if there’s no deadline,” Gallant said.

Gallant said the SU executive has proposed an amendment.

“We tabled an amendment to the bylaw that an appeal would have to be submitted within five business days of [election] results being made public, or three days after a recount.”

He said the students’ representative council will vote on the amendment next week, and if it’s passed, Gallant’s recommending the amendment be retroactive to Apr. 2.

“Any appeal that comes up from now on will be struck down if that bylaw passes,” Gallant said.

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