This year’s Feds elections came to a close with the announcement of Danielle Burt, Maaz Yasin, Stephane Hamade, and Ben Balfour claiming the four executive seats. They will represent Feds in the 2014-2015 year as president, vice-president internal, vice-president education, and vice-president operations and finance respectively.
All campaigned under Team Spark with the exception of Hamade, who was with Team Green.
“I really want to thank my team, I know they didn’t win, but I couldn’t have done it without them,” said Hamade soon after the announcement was made.
“I get along with Spark fairly well, me and Maaz have known each other for a very long time,” said Hamade about being the only Team Green member elected.
“Obviously our platform won’t all be accomplished, but a lot of my platform points are independent of the other executive and I think I’ll still be able to accomplish a lot of them.” Hamade’s main campaign point was introducing a fall reading week.
Hamade and Yasin were the only winners present for the announcement. Ben Balfour was in Cuba at the time and therefore unreachable for comment. Burt is currently on co-op outside of Waterloo.
“It was absolutely overwhelming to hear the response from people post-election and I am thrilled to be the next Feds president,” Burt said in an emailed statement. “I hope that I accomplish all that I can over the next year and I want more than anything to have an impact on people’s lives in the most positive way I can.”
“I’m just happy it’s all done, with all the allegations going around and everything I’m just happy it’s all resolved now and we have a good result for my team, obviously,” said Yasin after the announcement.
The allegations Yasin referred to were made during the voting period and the morning the results were announced. The number of allegations caused a delay in the results announcement.
A notable allegation referred to Team Spark’s website being posted before the start of the official campaign period. The Feds elections procedures clearly state, “Any form of campaigning may only be conducted during the campaign period.” The allegation was made anonymously and according to elections officer Robert Savoy, screenshots of the site were presented as proof, including the date, Jan. 27 — one day before campaigning began.
Team Spark defended themselves saying, “they were unaware of the fact their site was live and they were not actively campaigning with it.”
The elections board voted 3–2 that the site being live was a violation and Team Spark’s budget was docked 15 per cent. The elections appeals board later overturned this decision because it was a campaign volunteer who posted the site, not the candidates.
Other last-minute allegations made were regarding each team’s Facebook page. The first was made anonymously against Team Nova.
Elections procedures state, “Physical and digital campaign materials put into circulation during the campaign period may remain in circulation if completely unaltered.” The allegation was that someone tagged the team’s fan page in a personal post and it showed up on the “Recent Posts” section of Nova’s page thereby altering the “digital campaign material.”
The elections board ruled against Nova unanimously due to the fact that the “Recent Posts by Others” section of a Facebook page can be removed. Nova had 15 per cent docked from their budget. All allegations made can be viewed at feds.ca/elections/allegations.
This was the first executive election using the ranked voting system, however had Feds continued to use the first past the post system, the results would have been the same. The voter turnout for the executive elections averaged at 11 per cent, slightly up from last year’s 10 per cent turnout.
“I’m really happy,” said current president David Collins in regards to voter turnout. Though the exec turnout was similar to last year’s, the U-Pass referendum saw a 28 per cent voter turnout.
Collins said he is currently writing a book for the transitioning president tentatively titled <em>Ten Years of Presidents.</em> The other three current execs — Adam Garcia, Devin Drury, and Natasha Pozega — were all present for the results, but declined to comment.