LSU admits ballot counting error resulting in new protocols

Once the counting error was recognized, it took a week to update their website


Reported by Perrin Grauer

After discovering vote-counting errors following last month’s election, the Langara Students’ Union says it will develop new protocols for electoral oversight.

The LSU Media Committee refused to speculate on why no announcement about the recount was made by Jeannie Bates, LSU’s Chief Returning Officer, and were unable to say when new elections protocols would come into effect, or what form they might take. Bates did not respond to requests for comment.

LSU not able to make a website change for a week

The Media Committee said via email that Bates oversaw the student volunteers responsible for ballot counting, but only realized the original results were incorrect after they had been posted to the LSU’s website.

“It was a human error and can happen to anyone,” the email said. “The error was caught within an hour of it being published. Unfortunately…the LSU could not make the changes on the website until the next week.”

None of the bylaw documents from student societies at Kwantlen, UBC, UVic or SFU contain policies for informing students about voting irregularities, but Erwin Kwok, vice president of university relations at Simon Fraser Student Society, said his organization’s policy is to inform their membership immediately when irregularities occur.

“Yes there would be an announcement made,” Kwok said. “There would be a notice. There would definitely be a notice.”

Union admits error but doesn’t publicly announce it

Wendy Poole, associate professor, department of educational studies at UBC, said it’s good news when a union admits an error, but when making such errors public is not policy, it can leave important questions unanswered.

“They’ve promised to address [the problem],” Poole said. “But how are you going to know that they have? You have to wait until the next election? Are they going to report to people?”

LSU did not respond to further requests for explanation of the nature of the error.

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