USA senate elections encounter frustrating errors: Ballot mistakes and confusion could affect senate election results

By: Cameron Lareva

Assistant News Editor

Elections for the Undergraduate Student Association class senators began Monday, April 23 and ended Thursday, April 26. However, this year there were multiple difficulties that both senator candidates and voting general body students faced.

The ballot was open for students to vote for their class senators starting April 23, but many students found that they could not access the ballot on CanisiusLife. However, Katie Parker ‘18, USA executive vice president, ensures that students did access the ballot and cast votes on Monday and the following days of voting.”Unfortunately, sometimes CanisiusLife glitches for some students, sometimes links don’t work exactly properly, and sometimes students are unfamiliar with how exactly CanisiusLife works” she said.

Many candidates were also frustrated that there was no post on Today@Canisius advertising the elections. Candidates explained that the post acts as advertisement to vote and as a link to the actual ballot to encourage students to vote. However, the post for elections was on the Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday Today@Canisius email. Parker explained, “I am not responsible for Today@Canisius posts, so I’m not sure exactly why it wasn’t in Monday’s Today@Canisius. However, the ballot link was advertised through USA’s other online platforms on Monday, so the message that voting had begun and the link to do so was published by USA.”

Another frustration brought up by many of the sophomore candidates was that a fellow sophomore candidate, Seth Glanowski ‘21, did not turn in all of his paperwork to run for senate and made it on the ballot. Parker clarified saying, ”First, candidates are not immediately disqualified or removed from the ballot if their paperwork is late. Pursuant to the Fair and Free Elections Act, candidates receive a reduction in votes if they turn in late paperwork – not an immediate disqualification or ineligibility to run.”

She explained that Glanowski submitted a Letter of Intent, which confirms that a student wants to run for senate. She elaborated that if she or student life receives that letter, the student will automatically be put onto the ballot. If students submit their remaining paperwork late then they will be penalized by a certain number of votes at the end of the election. Parker confirmed that Glanowski was later removed from the ballot.

Sophomore senate elections also faced clerical errors, as sophomore senate candidate, Paige Phillips ‘21, was not on the ballot when it first launched on Monday. Phillips found the error when she accessed the ballot around 10 a.m. She explained that she reached out to Parker and USA graduate advisor, Neil Savoy, to resolve the issue. Savoy quickly added Phillips’ name to the ballot. There were a total of five people who voted while Phillip’s name was not on the ballot. Phillips said that she turned in all of her paperwork on time and that it was not an issue on her end. Parker stated, “Unfortunately when I confirmed the list of candidates to Student Life, I missed her name on the sheet. However, she contacted myself and USA’s grad advisor very shortly after voting opened, and her name was added to the list of candidates immediately. At the time her name was added to the list, only 5 votes had been cast in the election. It was an unfortunate mistake, but it was resolved quickly.”

Phillips explained that if she loses she will ask for the number of votes that she lost by, and if she lost by five or less votes she believes, “ the Undergraduate Student Association will proceed in accordance with the constitutional guidelines on matters as such.” Phillips does not blame anyone saying, “I personally feel as if this was just a simple mistake. I feel that the people of USA have good, honest hearts and somewhere in translation my name was simply missed. The error was fixed and there are no harsh feelings.”

The ballot for senior senators was also not filled up, with only five people who ran. Parker explained, “Many of the potential returning senior Senators have been elected to E-Board instead, and almost every year the senior class Senate is uncontested.” Parker ensured that the open spot will be filled by an appointment process.

The USA senate elections for the 2018-2019 year contained confusion and stress for the candidates, the advisors, the USA E-board, and the general student body voting. At this point it’s unclear if any of the problems that occured affected the election results.

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