STUSU candidate questions election results

Elizabeth Strange is appealing the results of the St. Thomas University students’ union election and wants a by-election.

She was a candidate for vice-president education during the vote on Tuesday and Wednesday last week.

Strange said Alex Driscoll, who defeated her by 99 votes or almost 18 per cent, was standing near polling stations “excessively.”

“The proper democratic process was not followed,” Strange said in a phone interview Tuesday.

STUSU by-laws contain provisions that prevent candidates from campaigning near polling stations.

Driscoll denies Strange’s allegations.

“That accusation is completely false. I was not standing by polling stations, staring at people, intimidating them to vote for me. I’m quite offended those accusations would come about,” he said in a phone interview Wednesday.

The only time he says he was near the polling stations was when he voted and when he walked by to go to classes.

On Feb. 29, chief returning officer Sarah Bulman approached Driscoll in the James Dunn Hall cafeteria to tell him to steer clear of polling stations because she had heard a complaint.

He was in JDH that Wednesday selling Chatham Hall pubcrawl T-shirts when Bulman approached him. He was sitting near the courtyard doors about 40 feet from the polling station.

“I made it so that I was sitting behind the Bristol board and my face couldn’t easily be seen by someone at the polling station unless they were really trying to search me out.”

Driscoll said Bulman didn’t tell him to move.

STUSU bylaws require the appeal to be filed within three business days after the results of the election are announced. A hearing for the appeal must happen within 10 business days of the filing.

The appellate board has three members who hear appeals.

Strange said she has witnesses who are willing to testify at the hearing, including poll clerks.

The person who files an appeal has to also ask the appellate board for a remedy. Strange said she is seeking a by-election.

“I think I have a pretty strong case,” she said about her chances of the board ruling in her favour.

“Hopefully it [a by-election] happens because the proper democratic process wasn’t followed because he didn’t follow the rules. So I don’t think the current vote should stand.”

She said she hopes people don’t think she’s appealing out of spite.

“I’m a little worried that this appeal might make people more upset with me,” she said.

“I hope people understand that I don’t think the proper democratic process was followed and that since there would only be one position running I think people will be able to learn more about the issues.”

Ryan Smith, STUSU chief appeal officer and chair of council meetings said, as of Tuesday, a date had not been set for the appeal hearing.

Frank Jr. Molley, who was disqualified from the presidential election on Feb. 19 by Bulman after he missed a mandatory meeting, has also filed an appeal over his disqualification.

Smith was also disqualified from this STUSU election for missing the same meeting. He will be one of three hearing Molley’s appeal.

In the 2009 presidential election, Craig Mazerolle filed an appeal after his name was partially cut off of some ballots. The appellate board decided to have a re-vote, which Mazerolle lost to Mark Henick.

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  • Show Comments (18)

  • The Dude

    This is totally being done out of spite.

  • A Concerned Voter

    This is ridiculous. To want an appeal on a clearly lost election is poor class to say the least. If I recall correctly, following her defeat in the election, Ms. Strange got up and left the SUB in a overly-dramatic fashion. It was extremely classless and showed nothing but spite towards Mr. Driscoll who won the election by a significant margin. The claims that Mr. Driscoll was sitting close to the polling stations to solicit votes is ludicrous. As someone who spent a few minutes with the candidate in question all he did was encourage people to vote. The voter turnout at this university is very low and Mr. Driscoll was simply encouraging people (along with everyone else there) to vote for ALL positions.

    Instead of attempting a by-election on very circumstantial grounds perhaps Ms.Strange should seek election somewhere else. Chances are the people that are forced to return to the polls will simply vote against her out of spite.

  • Common sense voter

    I"ve heard worse and seen worse than this, but I"m on Ms. Strange's side. Honestly, if you have to show your face by the polling stations during voting periods selling T-shirts I'm sure someone else could have easily done it instead. People know how to vote and when to vote, they don't need candidates telling them on election day, they're fully aware of it. I think she has a case, the rules need reform!

  • Luke

    I don't think the job he was doing in the same room can affect 100 votes being cast for the other person. Two other exec positions came down to less than fifty votes each, and neither of the losers in those positions felt it necessary to complain. Oh well, the Appeals officer needs something to do I guess.

    Also Frank broke the clear bylaw, nothing he can do.

  • STU student

    I can assure you, it is entirely out of character for Elizabeth Strange to act out of spite. This is not a spiteful action on her part at all and anyone who thinks so (and would slander her on the internet saying so) is also 'extremely classless' and saying so 'out of spite'. If she was truly acting out of spite she would be seeking disqualification of her opponent, but she is not. She is giving Alex Driscoll a chance to ammend his actions. __The claim that she left in 'an overly dramatic fashion' which was meant as an affront to Driscoll is ridiculous. She had just spent two hours at a stusu meeting (because she is actually involved in the stusu) and two hours waiting for results, and was still suffering from a huge bronchitis flare up which included coughing up blood. She did the sportsmanlike thing and attended the results, then she did what was best for her and went home to get rest. It is not fair to fault her for taking care of herself.__"Concerned Voter" is only concerned for himself and both he and "The Dude" are being cheap, petty and mean bullies.

    • STU Person

      "The claim that she left in 'an overly dramatic fashion' which was meant as an affront to Driscoll is ridiculous"

      No, Strange got up and left the SUB in a overly-dramatic fashion. Her actions were classless and immature.

      She should just back down and accept defeat if she wants to stand any chance winning any future STUSU elections. A by-election will lead to her reputation being tarnished, and she will be remembered as a winy brat throwing a fit for not getting her way.

      Grow up. You lost. Preserve your dignity while you still can.

    • Concerned Voter

      However she did leave. Slamming the table seems pretty dramatic to me. She lost by a large margin, simple as that. No way around it. Grow up.

    • The Dude

      I take offense to your "bully" slur, considering I used to be a conflict manager; furthermore, the language of your comment implicates Driscoll as a wrongdoer in suggesting that he needs to "amend his actions."

  • Elizabeth

    Anonymous online bullying is still bullying. If you have a problem with me, say it to my face. If you thought I wouldn't read them, you're naive.
    The appeal process exists for a reason, I'm simply following the proper paths and policies set out by the STUSU.
    I don't think getting up and walking out of the bar is making a scene. I could have done a million other things that could be considered making a scene, but that is not one.
    Also, if me walking out or applying for this appeal makes me immature or a brat, perhaps you should consider the rude actions that I am currently dealing with by people like you or during the election from my opponent.

    • Really?

      He was selling Pub Crawl T-shirts his house committee duty, I doubt he could influence 100 peoples decisions, Honestly if someone voted for him it's because they want to not because he forced them to he was over 50 feet away he could not see who someone was voting for nor make them vote for him, this is ridiculous.

    • STU Person

      Seems like you've got 99 problems…but an appeal shouldn't be one.

      I do not believe that the application for an appeal automatically makes you a "brat", but you do realize that you got your ass whooped, right?

      99 votes is a large margin for STUSU elections. If Driscoll was able to mobilize 99 voters (or EIGHTEEN PERCENT of students who voted) in the few hours he spent near the polling booth, GOOD ON HIM! If he's the man to get students more engaged, I'd rather have him as the VP External. If he can get 99 people to get involved in a few hours, imagine the campaigns he'll be able to organize as the VP External!

      I wasn't even a fan of him (I didn't even vote for him), but now he seems like the much better candidate.

      I don't think of my words as "bullying" or even "anonymous bullying". I say it how it is, and I would express the same opinion to you if I met you face to face. I did not mean to offend you, I just disagree with your actions. I encourage you to put a lot of thought and do a little bit of research on past by-elections. Ask people what they think and take their advice seriously. I've gotten a general sense of what people think and you might be extremely disappointed in the results if another election is ensued.

    • Alex Driscoll

      "[P]erhaps you should consider the rude actions that I am currently dealing with […] during the election from my opponent".

      I don't mind that you "have the right to an appeal", but I have to draw the line when you're going to defame my character in the form of libel. To say that I've committed "rude actions" toward you during the campaign period is false.

      Perhaps you could consider saying it to my face if you have a problem.

      On a lighter note, to the readers of the Aquinian; if all permits, I am still looking forward to working with you all next year.

    • The Dude

      Given what Strange has been saying and what has been reported, the logic of her positions boils down to this:

      a) The people against Strange are bullies/rude (even Driscoll himself, apparently);
      b) The majority of the people voted for Driscoll;
      c) The "proper democratic process was not followed";
      d) A re-vote must take place.

      Therefore, I think we can conclude that she considers the majority of the voters to be rude undemocratic bullies, and only such people would vote for the opposition. Granted, Strange considers Driscoll himself to be rude and, as one her supporters put it, he needs to "amend his actions."

      While tossing around the word "democracy" Strange is actually holding a very undemocratic position. Behind her rhetoric we see that she's sending the message to STU voters that democracy is great – when it works in her favour – and only rude people have a different perspective. Not only is she polluting the meaning of democracy, but she's actually committing libel! Unless she can give evidence of Driscoll's "rude actions" she needs to drop her claim.

      • Alisha

        I agree

        She uses her twisted idea of democracy to try to make up for the fact that she couldn't campaign as much as she wanted to during the week (she was sick or something).

        This is just ridiculous. She's manipulating the appeal system out of spite.

        I'm kind of hoping for another election, so she can properly be put in her place.

  • @markhenick

    Ah, simpler times. These little battles are good practice for life's real problems. Enjoy it while you can.

  • @justskipjames

    This makes me even more happy I voted Driscoll.

  • It's Simple.

    I was also with Mr.Driscoll on election day. I don't even know him, I just happened to be sitting at the Pub Crawl table. He didn't say a word to me about voting. From what I can tell, most people didn't like what Strange was planning to do at the STUSU. The "travel subsidy" for those outside the province/maritimes is an insult to local students. If a student from outside the area decides to attend a University not located in his/her home province, that is their decision. If you can't handle the cost, go to a University that is close to you. It just makes more sense. Who is paying my gas to go home eight hours away? Nobody. There is a reason why Strange was rejected by so many voters, and it has nothing to do with her behavior.

    TL;DR Maritime money should go to maritime students.

    • peace and love

      most universities give a travel bursary to international students, including american students. for stu, this means that they will give money to american students, but for people who come from the territories or the prairies (who live farther away than people in maine for example) get nothing. it was not meant as an insult to local students at all, and would actually probably have benefitted her

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