Election candidates face one-day campaign ban after breaching regulations

Laura PaynePayne will be unable to campaign on Wednesday

Three contenders in the YUSU elections have been banned from campaigning on campus following a breach of election regulations.

Presidential hopefuls Laura Payne and Nadeem Kunwar, and AU Presidential candidate Chris Collinson have all been barred from campaigning on Wednesday, March 5th after a YUSU decision announced today.

The ban means that only one presidential candidate – Mad Captain Tom Scott – will be free to campaign on campus tomorrow. The Captain, whose pirate antics have successfully seeped into student consciousness, has recently re-launched his campaign after declaring himself a serious candidate.

Payne faces a campus-wide ban tomorrow from 12.00pm to 5.00pm after one of her official campaigners, Alexios Mantzarlis, tagged several people in a Facebook note about her.

In an email sent out to candidates, Societies and Communications Officer, Sam Bayley, said that “this is different from emailing out a group set up for the sole purpose of campaigning, and this is why sanctions have been imposed.

Payne, however, expressed distress at a lack of clarity from YUSU regarding election regulations and the use of Facebook. “We respect the decision by the returning officers and are sorry the situation arose,” she said in a statement earlier today. “However, we were not aware that we were doing anything wrong, because this is the first time that Facebook has been allowed in an election and there is no precedent. Also, the rules we did have seem to imply that Facebook notes would be fine, and the only thing that would not be allowed are events,” she said.

Responding to claims that the rules governing Facebook campaigning were unclear Bayley said: “All candidates were made fully aware of the election rules at the Rules and Regs meeting before the start of campaigning. This was a compulsory meeting and the rules were explained in full. This included restrictions on sending out messages to unsolicited lists of people. Basically, candidates were only allowed to message people in groups set up for the purpose of their campaign. This clearly isn’t the case with notes where random people are tagged in, or where a sports club list is used for emailing out.”

Campaigner Mantzarlis echoed Payne’s sentiments. “It is especially sad as Laura has been so conscientious and worked with the SU. All she was told was that she couldn’t create an event, and so the definitions from the SU were not clear…I don’t think it’ll have a negative effect on her chances, but it isn’t fair,” he said.

Payne’s rival Kunwar faces similar disciplinary action from 9.00am to 5.00pm tomorrow, after a campaigning jibe was added to the end of a mass email sent out to members of FutsalSoc, of which Kunwar is a member.

The email, which Kunwar did not write, ended with the note: “And after you’ve done that, Vote Nadz for president!! Head to “http://www.yusu.org”www.yusu.org – log in, vote, and make sure the right man wins the post.”

Kunwar described the action taken by the Union as “ridiculous,” saying that “you shouldn’t be blamed for the actions of people who are not your campaigners. I knew nothing about the email until Sam Bayley told me. I am disappointed, and I think the rules need to be looked at as there has been confusion.”

Collinson has been sanctioned for postering in computer rooms during voting week, which is forbidden under election regulations. As the election takes place solely online, computer rooms are considered to be the ballot box.

15 comments

  1. I really don’t see how a facebook note is relevantly different from a facebook group in this respect. No-one tagged has to read the note, any more than people invited to a facebook group have to join it. I imagine that the information or opinions expressed in the note were not broadly different to those expressed in the facebook group and so the consequences of tagging people in a note would be no different.

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  2. 4 Mar ’08 at 8:16 pm

    Hannah "Bandana" Bunn

    Firstly, I must admit that I’m biased – I’m one of the Cap’n’s crew. However, I knew full well from before signing the campaigner form that none of the “offences” above were acceptable. It doesn’t matter whether the rules are sensible – we all have to abide by them. Erring on the side of cation is reccomended.

    I suppose that more needs to be done to inform the general student population that whether they are official campaigners or not, they are still the responsibility of the candidate they are supporting. I’m sure that whichever president ends up in office, they’ll all try to avoid this sort of thing happening next year.

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  3. 5 Mar ’08 at 12:09 am

    Anonymously Disgruntled.

    Personally, I feel the use of a note in facebook should be quite within regulations, as all that was expressed within it was the author’s opinion which then fostered a debate on the issues raised. Quite frankly if you are going to impose sanctions on the writing of notes in support or against any candidate, then you may as well ban all people from changing their statuses to support candidates for this election as well.

    As for the email and the postering, if those two things are explicitly against the rules then the campaign ban seems justified here. Although, if the email was not sent out by one of Nadz’ campaign team it also seems a little unfair.

    I do feel it is worth mentioning that while YUSU seem all too willing to crack down on these actions – rightly or not – it seems the far more serious issue of campaign posters for Charlie Leyland and Alan Duffel alledgedly being taken down by Mathew Pallas, the other candidate running for Academic and Welfare(apparently caught in the act), is not being investigated by YUSU to the degree which should be necessary, given the nature of the accusations.

    I’m pretty sure deliberately sabotaging your rival candidate’s campaign is more serious than a facebook note or even an email.

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  4. I’m more offended at Nadeem using Obama to campaign! What is he trying to do? Play the race card? The only thing they have in common in the colour of their skin. You don’t see Laura putting posters up with Hilary’s face on!

    Come up with something original, instead of trying to ride the coat tails of a true to be great leader.

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  5. I have also heard that Al Duffel and Charlie Leyland’s posters are being taken down by the opposition which I think is totally unacceptable and should definitely be addressed to ensure this election is (as much as it can be) a fair one.

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  6. Re: posters being removed – the Returning Officers are still looking into this and will take strict action if they can find evidence that this has indeed been occurring. At the moment we are unclear as to who has been removing posters – it could be residents, for example, who are entitled to decide which posters they want in their kitchens.

    The message sent out by the sanctions today show that any breach of the election regulations will not be accepted and this will of course apply to tampering with other candidates’ publicity.

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  7. 5 Mar ’08 at 11:04 am

    VOTE FOR CHANGE

    Josh

    You may be colour-blind… but the colour of their skin is not the same. Nadz is BROWN, Obama is BLACK. Unless you count all non-white people as the same, that is a big difference. So it’s clearly not an attempt to play the race card.

    Obama represent a break from the Clinton/Bush dynasties in America. He represents something different and something new and that is exactly what Nadz is offering in York.

    It also adds a bit of the US election spice to our own usually dull elections.

    Chill out and take it in the light-hearted fashion it was meant.

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  8. Clinton and Bush were completely different leaders. Clinton did a good job, whereas Bush is debatable.

    Black or brown? The point is he isn’t white and that is what he is trying to get across. He trying to say vote for something different as if he is a radical change, like Obama.

    He is just as a pathetic candidate as Laura except he is pretending to unite everyone together by being from a minority.

    Does York have a race problem? No, it certainly does not. Does America? Yes, a very serious one. Someone like Obama in charge means massive changes and would be a superb thing. Someone like Nadeem in charge doesn’t mean anything more than weak promises he has no intention of keeping.

    I’m voting for Tom Scott as at least he has a sense of humour and is original.

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  9. I applaud Tom Scott’s very funny and well-orchestrated campaign – I’m sure he’s got a lot of students interested that ordinarily couldn’t care less about YUSU.

    But I hope he doesn’t get in. A Pirate President? York would be a complete laughing stock, surely?

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  10. I don’t think the YUSU could get laughed at anymore than it currently is, to be honest.

    The whole “YUSU Clique” would disappear with him at the helm though.

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  11. the so called yusu clique will occur every year, because yusu officers will always make friends with each other and because the vast majority of the sabbatical officers friends will have left york, leaving them to socialise with each other.

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  12. The clique isn’t made up of the sabs though, it’s the younger members who are just on the SU in lower positions and work their way up each year. Tom Scott has nothing in common with these people. He’s a king!

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  13. From what I can tell nearly all of the candidates have had at least some of their posters taken down. That said, posters have been going up outside and on doors which are also both breaking election rules and this seems to be happening regardless of the position. In the presidential race neither Laura or Tom have been doing this but Nadz has been doing it prolifically (his small green posters and his A4 Obama ones are all around Vabrugh walkway and were often appearing on the wooden fence towards Langwith). Laura and Tom have clearly been strict with their campaigners about this but Nadz less so.

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  14. 6 Mar ’08 at 7:21 pm

    NOT A PAYNE CAMPAIGNER

    I saw those too, I was almost tempted to take them down. He probably thought that he couldn’t get banned for another day because voting closes tomorrow, so he would take his chances. YUSU would now have every right to disqualify him for repeated breach of rules.

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  15. Something should be done because he now has an unfair advantage because others have abided by the rules where he has not.

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