Ali disqualified from SFSS election

The IEC has ruled that former arts rep and victor in the URO race cannot hold office, as she is not registered as a student

By Alison Roach
Photo from flickr

In a letter to the SFSS Board of Directors on Friday, April 5, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) announced its decision to disqualify Alia Ali from the SFSS 2013 general election. Ali was elected to the University Relations Officer (URO) position last month, beating out second place candidate Brock Balfour by 29 votes.

The official letter, written by IEC chief electoral officer Avery Kwong, states that Ali “failed to produce appropriate documentation regarding her registration as a student at Simon Fraser University.” According to Ali, she was registered for courses this semester, but was forced to withdraw under extenuating circumstances due to personal issues. However, Ali failed to provide documentation regarding her withdrawal to the IEC at any point in the election.

Kwong stated in the letter that Ali promised to provide proof when the registrar accepted the withdrawal and registered as a student, and that the IEC “accepted her promise in good faith.” At the end of the election, when Kwong again solicited for documentation, Ali responded that her withdrawal had been accepted, but still did not provide proof. When Kwong asked again, Ali stopped responding.

However, Ali claims that she is now officially registered as a student, and that she had sent on documentation to Kwong. When Kwong was asked about this claim, he declined to comment.

On why documentation wasn’t required at the beginning of the election process, Kwong said, “Correspondence was sent back and forth during this period, it wasn’t something that the IEC ignored, but again it’s something that I’m not going to comment on at the moment.”

As of press time, Ali has stated that she plans to release an official statement as soon as possible. “It’s not an official decision, from when I talked to Avery. He’s going to talk to the commissioners . . . I think this is still up in the air,” she commented.

In the letter, it is stated that Ali is disqualified, and several options on how to proceed are given. These include the leaving the URO seat vacant, putting runner up Balfour in her place, holding a re-vote for candidates Balfour and Ashleigh Girodat, or holding a by-election in the upcoming fall semester.

When the letter was first released by the IEC, the decision between these options was to be left to the SFSS board of directors, but Kwong later sent out a message to board members saying that the IEC will meet to discuss the issue and choose the best possible solution to recommend at the next board meeting, this Wednesday. “The options that we are considering are not finalized,” said Kwong.

On the definity of the decision, Kwong commented, “[Ali] can’t be appointed. She didn’t necessarily do anything wrong to get disqualified, other than the fact that she’s not eligible.

“She basically is disqualified. That’s what it is, there’s no other word that I can use to describe the situation. . . . There’s no other way I can put it.”

The IEC’s decision will be brought to the SFSS board of directors this Wednesday.

*This story is breaking, and will be updated as more information becomes available