On March 13, Elections SSMU invalidated votes cast on the first day of the election period. Since the preferential voting system required by Internal Regulations and Referenda, Section 6.1 was omitted in the service, students whose ballots were cancelled will have to vote again. The aforementioned clause ensures a winner in the event that no candidate wins a majority of the vote. Initially, a plurality voting system was used, meaning voters were unable to rank their choice of candidates in order of preference.
“We missed a crucial detail in the Internal Regulations,” Chief Electoral Officer Alexander Nehrbass wrote in an email to The McGill Tribune. “A preferential voting system has to be used for 3+ candidate races to ensure we can calculate a majority outcome. I cannot emphasize how sincerely sorry we are [….] It has been a hectic week culminating in a truly unfortunate mistake.”
Following the error, presidential candidate Muna Tojiboeva expressed her dissatisfaction with the election oversight.
“I think it is unacceptable but there is not much we can do at this point since it is an [Internal Regulations] IR issue,” Tojiboeva wrote in an email to The McGill Tribune. “I am disappointed and discouraged to say the least but pleased that the democratic process is being upheld in accordance with the [IRs].”
In spite of the mistake, Vice-President (VP) Operations candidate Anuradha Mallik explained that students should not be dissuaded from participating in this year’s election.
“While it may further discourage students from engaging with SSMU, I laud the elections team for fixing the voting rollout issue so speedily,” Mallik wrote in an email to The McGill Tribune. “Democracy works best when rules are followed and although it can be inconvenient, it's best to stay true to it. I encourage constituents to engage in the political system at McGill regardless and have their voices heard!”
The voting period will last until March 16 at 3 p.m. and results will be announced at 5 p.m. on the same day.