Goodricke’s JCRC elections have been overshadowed by a dispute regarding the bans given out for illegal campaigning to election candidates.
The Returning Officer refutes the claims made by James Carney, candidate for Goodricke Vice-Chair for Democracy and Welfare, that they have shown bias during the election process.
They instead state in an open letter addressing the situation that: “With regard to specific campaigns you refer to. I feel it is important to inform you that both candidates received the same ban for the same offence”.
This is referring to a ban given to fellow Goodricke Vice-Chair candidate Liam O’Shaughnessy, as well as several given to James Carney.
They added that, “At many points, I have consulted with YUSU staff and full-time officers to ensure my decisions are fair”.
Carney alleges that the Returning Officer and current Chair of Goodricke have behaved in a manner which is “undemocratic and disgraceful”.
However, in the publicly published open letter, available for any students to read, Goodricke’s Returning Officer states that within the Goodricke constitution is the capacity for the Returning Officer to, “build upon the rules defined within the constitution”.
According to the Returning Officer the rules they established were in line with those used by YUSU, and were distributed via email.
The Goodricke constitution states the Returning Officer, “may not show any preference for any candidate”, maintaining “fair, free, and unbiased conduct of the elections”.
Should the Officer show any preference, the elections are declared to be invalid, and must therefore be entirely re-run.
Nacho Hernando, Goodricke JCRC Chair, when questioned about the committee dispute, also referred Nouse to the open letter. However, he did express his support for the Returning Officer, stating: “I believe they have done a brilliant job”.
“There are an increasing number of people in Goodricke that would ask you to step down as Returning Officer”
Peter Sharpe, Former Vice-Chair for Democracy and Welfare
But, Hernando stressed that, the responsibility did not lie with himself, as he added, “I am not involved with the election process.”
The elections have also been criticised for being disorganised. Voting for the election opened on 30th November, however, the Goodricke Hustings event was held only on the 30th November, a date which was not confirmed publicly until two days before.
Carney claims that because of the “shockingly publicised” Hustings many candidates who would have run were discouraged from doing so.
While Peter Sharpe, former Goodricke Vice-Chair for Democracy and Welfare, published a separate open letter, in which he condemned the actions of the Returning Officer.
He noted his concern that the ban was “heavy handed”, and as a result noted the election could be viewed as “null and void”.
He continued that “there are an increasing number of people in Goodricke that would ask you to step down as Returning Officer”.
Should this occur, the entire process would have to be re-run, a fact acknowledged by Sharpe in the conclusion of his open letter.
Voting for the 2011/12 Goodricke JCRC closed on Sunday night, 4th December; and the results are to be announced at Yates tonight.