Former GPSC president's special election win promptly invalidated due to vote tabulation glitch
(From left to right) Zachary Brooks, Wei-Ren Ng and Ezra Smith talk at a GPSC meeting in the Pima room at the SUMC on Thursday, August 25th.
UA’s Graduate and Professional Student Council held a special election on Sept. 21 and 22 to fill positions that remained open from its previous election. During the voting, an online college representative was elected, but the results were invalidated.
Although Zachary Brooks, still president of GPSC at the time, did not appear on the online college’s representative ballot, he received a majority of the votes as a write-in candidate according to the GPSC’s released election results..
Brooks said he was informed by Christopher Hargraves, senior assistant dean of students and acting election director, that he had received 13 votes while the other candidates received a total of 11 votes, but the results were going to be invalidated.
Brooks appealed the ruling according to Jude Udeozor, the new president of GPSC.
During a closed meeting, the GPSC executive board voted to uphold the decision to invalidate the results of the online college’s representative election, according to Jasmine Sears, administrative vice president of GPSC.
"The board made their decision based on a complaint I have never seen,” Brooks said, following the GPSC vote.
During the first day of voting, an anonymous individual formally brought to the attention of the GPSC executive board that any UA student could participate in the election for the online college’s representative, instead of just those enrolled in the online college, Sears said.
She said although Brooks received the most votes, there is no way to determine the winner.
According to Sears, the acting elections director was unable to fix the voting error in the ballot during the voting period so they decided to invalidate the results.
“Brooks received the most votes but people were campaigning on his behalf to students they knew were not online or outreach students,” Sears said.
Due to ballot secrecy rules, the executive board could not distinguish between those ballots that were eligible, or from online college students and those that should be.
A special election will be held after the errors in the voting software are resolved to choose a representative for the Online College, according to Sears.
Udeozor said this is the only way to guarantee GPSC’s representatives properly represent its constituents.
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