The unofficial results of the UTSU elections are expected to be released today, according to a notice posted on UTSU’s website on Saturday.
“The delay is in respect to awaiting further information from the online voting company used for these elections,” read the elections notice board.
Voting at UTM was extended to 3 p.m. on Friday due to the campus closure during Wednesday’s snowstorm. As a result, the ballot counting was delayed from Thursday until Friday.
The elections were met with several criticisms this year, including the use of outdated ballots listing former independent candidate for VP external Luis Moreno, who announced his withdrawal from the elections at the Executive Candidates’ Forum on March 6.
The Medium reported on March 12 that the paper ballots at UTM contained the error. Munib Sajjad, the current president of UTSU and chair of the Elections and Referenda Committee, later confirmed that the ballots at St. George contained the same error.
“The ballots were printed prior to Mr. Moreno’s withdrawal of candidacy,” wrote Sajjad in an email. “Mr. Moreno’s name was removed from the online system and notices have been placed at the poll stations to explain to voters that he is no longer a candidate.”
When Medium staff visited the polling stations earlier last week, they weren’t warned about the error and saw no notice. The poll clerks said they weren’t aware of the error and apologized.
The Medium later confirmed that notices that read “Luis Moreno has withdrawn and is no longer a candidate for VP external” were put up inside the voting shield. It is unclear when these notices were posted.
Nicky Bhatty, Team Unite’s candidate for VP external, told chief returning officer Alex Flor that the error was a disadvantage to both himself and his rival, U of T Voice’s Grayce Slobodian.
“Luis formally dropped out of elections and publicly endorsed me,” said Bhatty. “I don’t think that it’s fair that students who are less informed may vote for Luis, and those votes may take away from either candidate.”
He added, “In a close race, those few votes could be crucial. I do wish that the mistake hadn’t been made and that if the individuals behind the ballots knew of the mistake, that they informed the poll clerks so that the appropriate actions could have been taken.”
Sajjad didn’t respond when asked how ballots containing votes for Moreno will be handled.
In an interview with the Medium last Monday, before voting opened on Tuesday, Bhatty and Team Unite’s presidential candidate, Ye Huang, listed the disadvantages they felt came with being on the opposition slate in an election.
“There’s always favouritism on the incumbent slate,” said Bhatty. “In recent memory, there has never been an opposition slate that has ever won against the incumbent slate.”
He mentioned that the candidates have to sacrifice time and money in order to run, and that his team wasn’t as well-versed about elections code and had access to fewer volunteers.
Last week, the Varsity reported that student union executives from York and Ryerson were helping campaign for U of T Voice.
On Thursday, Unite’s VP internal candidate, Anna Yin, was awarded 58 demerit points for statements the notice board claims Flor investigated and found to be false, including arguably true ones concerning the Student Societies Summit. According to a Varsity article, if Yin does not appeal or her appeal fails, Voice candidate Cameron Wathey will win by default.
This is the first time in two years that an opposition team has run.