In an emergency meeting this evening, a paper tabled by Richard Walker, current incumbent of and candidate for Deputy President for Clubs and Societies, described the difference between an unfair practice and an unfair election. An unfair practice, it stated, “is one which breaches the elections regulations” whereas an unfair election is one “which is deemed unfair because a breach, or breaches, of the regulations are deemed great enough to have swayed the majority of voters”. Giving his personal opinion that the articles in Felix constituted an unfair practice but that the elections were fair, he noted that personal conversations with a number of people had given him the impression there was some confusion over whether last Thursday’s vote was to declare the article in Felix an unfair practice or that the entire election was unfair.
A decision that the Presidential election was unfair made by council last Thursday, was hence reconsidered. A polarised debate followed with Ashkan Salamat, Deputy President for Education and Welfare candidate, arguing that since Felix is so widely read and is the main communication between Imperial College Union and its members, the practice did indeed make the election unfair. Presidential candidate, Ameet Bhakta seemed a little incredulous that the Council were considering going back on a previous ruling that they had spent 2 and a half hours debating last week and dubbed the situation “ridiculous”, calling into question the credibility of Council. Alex Coby, pointed out that the 4 days since the last meeting gave the Council an opportunity to consider the situation more fully.
A vote was taken and with a majority of 14 votes to 10 (and 8 abstentions) the Presidential election was declared to be fair. 2 attempts by Ameet Bhakta for council to reconsider this reconsideration (a move that requires a 2/3 majority) failed. Following on from this decision, it was then decided by another vote that the Presidential election should be counted, via manual count, with all the other sabbatical elections on Wednesday.
It was clarified that should a candidate refuse to sign the Statement of Intent, which must be signed before a count can take place, then, should this be as a result of any old issues that has been dealt with, then a count would proceed in any case. However if any new issues were raised then these would be dealt with through the usual complaints channels. The Statement of Intent, which declares “I agree these elections have been run constitutionally and fairly”, has been a sticking point in past sabbatical elections.
A paper proposing to overturn the decision to not to re-ballot the entire election was also presented (by elections committee member, Aaisha Latif) but the council decided to stick with their original decision on this matter. It was further decided to address some of the difficulties that were faced with the electronic ballot at a later date when further technical information may be available and the current elections are over.
The other candidates for Deputy President for Clubs and Societies include Matthew Asher, Julie Morgan and Alison Miller. Sam Rorke, Jihane Belkoura and Kevin Fox are also standing for Deputy President for Education and Welfare and Mustafa Arif is also standing for President.