Dust Settles in the Aftermath of 2014 Election

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The complete numbers have just come in for the class of 2014 CCSC election, and it was a close one! So close, in fact, that second place finisher for President, Matthew Chou, contested the results. But before we get to the grounds of the appeal and the response of the Elections Board, here is the the complete list of winners and the vote tally:

President: Conan Cassidy

Vice President: Joanna Kelly

Representatives: Roko Rumora, Daphne Chen, Cristal James

Results for President/Vice President
Candidates Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6
Conan Cassidy/Joanna Kelly 77 79 83 88 105 164
Matthew Chou/Joanna Kelly 68 69 73 82 101 0
Isaiah New/Anoushka Asgari 43 46 50 57 0 0
Nicolas Leeper/Andrew Glicklich 27 28 31 0 0 0
Steven Kyle Cook/Candice Herschel 19 20 0 0 0 0
Emma Ziegellaub Eichler/Lisa Zhou 18 0 0 0 0 0
Results for Representative
Candidate Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7 Round 8 Round 9 Round 10 Round 11
Roko Rumora 38 38 38 38 39 40 47 55 58 76 117
Daphne Chen 42 42 42 42 42 45 49 54 54 68 0
Cristal James 36 36 37 37 38 38 39 46 52 0 0
Robert Wren Gordon 24 24 24 25 25 25 25 29 0 0 0
Katherine Ynsinare 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 0 0 0 0
Krishna Hegde 19 20 23 23 23 24 24 0 0 0 0
Jessica Eaton 17 17 17 17 17 17 0 0 0 0 0
Nim Gumaste 11 11 11 12 12 0 0 0 0 0 0
Stephan Luma 6 8 8 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Kellie Gergoudis 6 6 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Nolan Kier 5 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Jess Geiger 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

CCSC Election Board’s response to Matthew Chou’s appeal

Dear Matt,

The CCSC Elections Board has ruled on your appeal and has decided against the appeal. To understand our reasoning, we are giving our explanation under each of your points.

  • First, I believe the election (and election events, such as the debate) were not sufficiently advertised. Given that there are about 1100 freshmen in the college, and only 252 votes cast, only 23% of the freshman class voted, an amount scarcely representative of the freshman student body. There were no posters on campus, posts on Bwog, or any other methods (as far as I or those I talked to could tell) by which people could find out how to vote. For example, at 9pm today, 4 people came up to me (ironically, the margin of victory) and said that they would vote for me later in the week.

The elections and election events were fully advertised on flyers throughout the first year dorms. The Elections Board personally hung the flyers; while flyers can be taken down or covered up, the Elections Board made a good faith effort to advertise in this way. Further, an email was sent out to the first year student body advertising both the debates and the election voting. A calendar was mailed to both the Spectator and Bwog, and the Elections Board announced the beginning of voting on its website/blog. In terms of the number of votes cast, this was not out of the ordinary for a first year election. This number is roughly similar to the number of voters for the past two years (in First Year Elections).

  • Second, rules ambiguity prevented The Party from sufficiently “getting out the vote.” If I had known that we were allowed to send out reminders to vote, as the Kiwi Krew did last night, I would have prepared a much better infrastructure beforehand to enable persons to vote. For instance, I could have texted every person I met face to face during my rounds around the dorms with a link to the voting website! Instead, I had to tell countless people these past few days that I couldn’t send them the link, and that instead, they had to check the depths of their CUBMail for the one elections email (which had a subject title not indicating that it was the one and only link you’d get to vote.) It was only until last night, when I saw the Kiwi Krew organize a coordinated status spam of all their Facebook pages, that I heard that the moratorium ban on “web content,” which “includes but is not limited to Facebook/Gchat/Gmail/AIM status, emails and text messaging” was allowed. (Section IVE, Rules and Regulations) I hurriedly threw something together, but I believe the damage had already been done.

The Elections Board held a rules meeting on Sunday, September 12 where we explained the rules. At this meeting, we explained how the rules are interpreted and that actions like those of the Kiwi Krew were acceptable. Further, the Elections Board is always available by email, and you were welcome to email us at any time for a clarification of the rule.

  • Third, I believe The Party was disadvantaged by the formatting of our bio. When I submitted the bio to the Board in both plain text and file form, it was formatted very clearly, with bullet points indicating our party positions. During voting, everything was muddled into one big block of text that looked wholly unprofessional. We were not told that our bio would appear that way, but we were told that the content, once posted, couldn’t be changed. First impressions matter a lot, and that bio did not make a good one.

This is the set-up of the system and something that affected all candidates equally in that anyone who chose to have bulleted formatting would have the same format you did. Text on the web frequently experiences formatting changes.

  • Lastly, in a possible violation of rules, the Kiwi Krew is openly advertising on Facebook that they have won the elections (I’ve attached a screenshot). According to Section XII, Part E, “Election results become official 24 hours after their announcement or after the last appeal is decided.” Given that election results have not become official, the Kiwi Krew should not be able to establish themselves as rightful victors. By doing so, they preclude any sort of meaningful appeal action. Contesting a result (which implies the possibility of change) becomes much more difficult, as changing the result of the election would be perceived as “stealing the election” from already “official” victors.

The Elections Board considers the election and the moratorium over from the time the results are announced (11:01pm last night). The Kiwi Krew is welcome to advertise victory. That does not stop you from appealing the election.

The Elections Board believes firmly in the legitimacy of these elections. We believe that the elections and associated events were advertised and that voting was legitimate. As such, we are denying your appeal.

Please do not hesitate to contact the Board.

All the best,
Alex Rosen

CCSC Elections Board

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  1. Jesus Christ

    So you won't have a Student Council bullet point on your resume. Big deal. I'm sure there are plenty of ways to weasel your way into being the administration's whipping boy in the next four years.

  2. ummm...  

    Matthew is making himself into the most disliked person at Columbia.

    CCSC EB could definately use James Bogner back though. organization in disarray. he would have squashed this revolt in its infant stages.

  3. cc '13  

    Jesus Christ, what a douchebag. someone should tell matthew this isn't high school anymore.

  4. confused  

    What are the columns representing in the photos?

  5. wisdom  

    Leave Student Council before it destroys you.

  6. Anti-Douche  

    Matt's raising a valid concern. He has a right to express his opinion. For all who think that he's somehow becoming "unpopular" by voicing what he believes in, the only thing I have to say to you is, that's a little too "high school" for me.

    • Anonymous

      He's unpopular because his opinions are idiotic. Complaining about low student turnout when student elections have always like that, not knowing the difference between "Vote for Student Council" versus "Vote for me for Student Council", seriously believing that a minor formatting issue doomed his campaign, and complaining about the other team gloating. Hey, Obama technically didn't win the election on election night. He won when the Senate certified the Electoral College votes.

      This justifies an appeal?

  7. Sounds like  

    a good character for V-Show. Kind of like a male version of that chick on Glee

  8. Anonymous  

    kudos to whoever devised the bad-ass color scheme

  9. Anonymous  

    Matt's a great guy. that is all.

  10. Anonymous  

    Matt makes valid points.

  11. Accountability Anyone?

    Regarding Chou's third point, it does seem like a poorly formatted bio could easily have turned off more than four voters. Can you imagine submitting a resume with the text all jumbled together? The board's response is completely unsatisfactory, arguing that unexpected format changes are part and parcel of text formatting on the web. This is true, but so is the ability to edit text. If the board did not know of the formatting issues ahead of time, or simply failed to inform the candidates, then the rule that the text cannot be changed once submitted, while reasonable to prevent incessant bio updates, should not have been applied to prevent reasonable corrections due to formatting issues that were not made clear. Chou probably took some of the sting out of this argument by diluting it with other less forceful ones to which the CCSC had predictably ready responses, but it seems clear that the CCSC did not genuinely consider Chou's appeal and should not pretend to have given him a fair hearing.

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