UPDATED: SGA election invalid, re-ballot scheduled for April

By Callam Rodya

Updated @ 7:32 p.m. on Mar. 27

The results of last week’s 2011-2012 SGA-AGE elections have been deemed invalid.

The election’s Chief Returning Officer, Alexander Bourdon, made the call late Friday morning after the set quorum of 15 per cent of members, as outlined in the SGA constitution, was not reached.

Some 550 votes were cast in the election, held Mar. 23 and 24. Approximately 700 ballots would have had to have been cast in order to satisfy the quorum requirements.

The SGA was quick to formulate a contingency.

“We have a two-part plan that we think is the most legal and fair,” said outgoing SGA President Samantha Pitzel in an email to Lambda.

The first part: a re-ballot has been scheduled for April 4 and 5. Students who previously cast votes will still be able to do so in the new election. Candidates will be able to campaign in the coming week if they wish to do so, according to Pitzel.

At the same time, the SGA will convene two back-to-back board meetings this Friday, April 1, with the aim of substantially reducing or even eliminating the current quorum law in the constitution.  A two-thirds vote is required to change such a law.

“Very few schools have quorum for student union elections, and ours is oddly high even compared to the ones that do,” Pitzel said.

According to the now invalid results of this week’s election, SGA presidential candidate Charlie Andrews narrowly-defeated Keygan Ricketts by only five votes. James Sylvestre defeated Iain Park in the race for VP Services by a narrow margin of 10 votes. Current VP Issues Casey Lalonde was significantly-trounced by candidate Tim Campbell by almost 100 votes.

These results are now deemed completely invalid and will have no bearing on the new ballot.

VP Issues candidate Campbell isn’t surprised by the outcome of the election.

“In my discussion with students, they seem to have no connection or feel no need to vote, many commenting that the “issues” and government was out of mind and their control,” he said in a statement to Lambda. “We must remain loyal to our structure and constitution, and in this situation, I give our president Sam Pitzel kudos for the political savy she’s employing – creating a solution that will benefit students in the years to come.”

In a similar statement to Lambda, VP Services candidate Park expressed optimism at having a second chance with the voters.

“Though the failure to reach quorum is disappointing, the event of a second election only gives ourselves as candidates further opportunity to engage the SGA student body,” he said. “My qualifications and experience speak for themselves, and on Monday and Tuesday I plan to receive an unprecedented amount of support.”

“Engaging students is always a challenge – not all students get [involved] in their union and there a good many who do not even know who or what we are,” said VP Issues candidate Lalonde in a statement to Lambda. “I think this is an opportunity to reflect on our traditional ways of working and embrace sustainable change in the right direction.”

Though only a few of the SGA candidates responded to a request for comment on the outcome of the election, some took to Facebook to voice their opinions.

“I am deeply upset with the situation, but this approach will be fair for everyone running,” wrote presidential candidate Andrews on his profile. “Considering how close it was, I hope you (my friends) will [find] time to vote again.”

“If the decision is to have another election, I will do my part, because I do want the position,” wrote VP Services candidate Sylvestre on Facebook. “However, this really is a terrible time of year to be campaigning.”

The Student General Association is Laurentian University’s largest student union, representing over 4,500 full-time students.

The SGA provides several services to its members including Frosh Month activities, a comprehensive prescription drug and dental plan, the Pub DownUnder, funding for CKLU and Lambda, and the Universal Bus Pass.

The association controls a budget of approximately $1.8 million.

The ballots cast in last week’s election represents a voter turnout of approximately 12 per cent. According to SGA meeting minutes, last year’s voter turnout was in the neighborhood of 20 per cent.

Here are the results of the Mar. 23/24 SGA-AGE Election for the 2011-2012 school year:

SGA President
Charlie Andrews: 297 votes
Keygan Ricketts: 292 votes

SGA Vice President, Services
Iain Park: 283 votes
James Sylvestre: 293 votes

SGA Vice President, Issues
Tim Campbell: 334 votes
Casey Lalonde: 239 votes

Laurentian Senate SGA Representative
Zack Courtemanche: 434 YES votes, 114 NO votes
Mark Mancini: 435 YES votes, 109 NO votes

For more information on the candidates for SGA office, visit


  1. Trounced by over 100 votes? Hmm 339-334 = 95. It’s still a significant margin I will admit that and I know you are journalists but you can learn to use a calculator and present things factually.



  2. I would like to say that though the failure to reach quorum is dissapointing. However, the event of a second election only gives ourselves as candidates further opportunity to engage the SGA student body.

    Yes I agree that it is “a bad time of year to be campaigning,” but throughout my campaign I have stressed that I am a candidate that is always prepared. All of my assignments were finished over reading week. This was done so that I would have ample time to campaign for the election. I’m actually happy the election did not reach quorum because now I have to opportunity to reach out to even more students. My qualifications and experience speak for themselves, and on Monday and Tuesday I plan to recieve an unprecedent amount of support from our SGA student body.


    Iain Park

    1. That line looks familiar! I’m just saying, students will be more focused on preparing for exams, I’m sure most won’t want to come out and vote (again for some). Regrettable, but it is what it is, I wish more students cared about what direction their student association intends to take them, because not being able to reach 15% after 2 years of 20+ is kind of sad.

  3. I don’t understand why they are doing this. If something doesn’t work a first time, while students are required to be in school, why do they think its going to work a second time when classes are finished or finishing up? As a student who has no reason to be on campus for any reason aside from attending class (which are all in Huntington’s HU-SC classroom) I feel it is more an annoyance to have to go to the main building to vote. If the school or counsel members made it easier to vote there is no doubt in my mind that more people would vote. The fact that it takes more than an instant to go sign up, register, vote whatever already seems like too long. As a former Cambrian student, where voting was as simple as logging into the student website and opening a poll, registering and filling out a ballot seems like a waste of time, energy and paper to me. Make it easier and the students will participate.

    1. With all due respect, Madison, there was a polling station at the main entrance to Huntington on both voting days.

  4. What about the results of the referendum question? (To increase the Student Refugee Program levy by $1)

  5. Aanii All. Thank you to all the students who did vote in this election! Last year I attended an SGA meeting where they discussed the very problem that is being experienced now with the elections and as far as my memory serves me the descision was to be put before the board for consideration and as a way not to further burden students. In any event it seems to me that the board does not like the results, the same way they did not like the results for VP Issues candidate last year, in that sense then, I believe they are operating in a truly fashion that is truly Canadian, after all did current Canadian Government achieve ‘quorum’? And when they did not they made Canadians return to the polls over and over again and again they return to the polls. I don’t know whose idea this is but it is very taxing on the students and disgraceful for the Student Government or at least to the Board. As a closing thought did the SGA ever consider porportional representation then all views, purposes and intents could be aired in a truly democratic fashion rather than forcing competitions of who will be on top…competition breeds resentment.

    1. Thanks Nancy! 🙂 Same BS different pile. I say the names of those who voted in the books should have been counted, then the poling stations re-opened for a couple more days until quorum was reached. Quorum is important, and significantly reducing that number isn’t a solution to low voter turnout. We need to accurately represent our members and ensure our elections are more than just a popularity contest. Arhhklasdgh now must campaign all over again lol.

  6. About the Hunting voting station, I went and they told me “huntington rez only” I had to go to the main building to vote.