This is a follow-up to our previous statement from 9th March 2021 regarding the outcome of the Welfare & Campaigns Officer election, which can be found here.
As part of the Returning Officer’s decision to null and void the election, the Returning Officer also made the decision to allow candidates the opportunity to challenge that decision, with any challenges to be heard by a sub-group of the Board of Trustees. In addition, the Returning Officer also agreed to accept any decision made by the Board of Trustees sub-group in relation to this matter.
A challenge to the Returning Officer’s decision was received from one of the candidates and, following a hearing which took place on Friday 26th March, the Board of Trustees have decided to overturn the Returning Officer’s decision to declare the election null and void. Charlton Sayer has therefore been officially reinstated as the Welfare & Campaigns Officer Elect.
The Board of Trustees made their decision on the grounds that the Single Transferable Vote system operated as it should have to produce the original election result. The votes which were challenged by the Returning Officer were those from students who voted for the withdrawn candidate and then selected No Further Preferences. The Board decided that these votes could be considered as equivalent to abstentions in the case that the withdrawn candidate had been omitted from the ballot paper. The SU’s By-Laws state that any abstentions count towards quorum, and so, with the omission of any additional guidance within the By-Laws on how to deal with withdrawn candidates, it is reasonable to accept these votes for the withdrawn candidate as valid votes counting towards quorum.
We will be carrying out a review of this election period to ensure any issues are ironed out for future elections, including adding guidance to the By-Laws on how to deal with withdrawn candidates to ensure this situation is not repeated.
The Board of Trustees would like to acknowledge that this has been a challenging time for all parties involved, and apologise for any additional stress this process may have caused.