A breakdown of the disqualification charges
On March 6, Mohamed Azzam was disqualified from the UBCSUO election. He was running for VP Campus life. On March 7, Azzam released a statement on Facebook regarding his disqualification.
Azzam stated that the purpose of his statement was to “advance the moral and ethical standing of [the] Union.” Azzam contends that he was not campaigning early, rather, he had “sent a message via Snapchat to a close friend with whom [he] ha[s] extensive campaign history.” Azzam contends that reaching out to a small group of friends prior to running to organize volunteering is common practice, and not unusual in running for SUO office.
In response to Azzam’s statement, the Elections Committee released a statement addressing some of his concerns. The Committee contends that Azzam’s statements are in direct contradiction to the interview that he gave to the Committee during their investigation process.
Regarding his assertion that he sent a Snapchat message to “a close friend,” Tyrel Lamoureux, the Chief Returning Officer (CRO) confirmed that in his interview, Azzam stated that he sent a Snapchat message to over 10 different people. This Snapchat message did not address or ask for volunteers, rather, Azzam asked these people to get their friends to vote for him specifically. Even with the concession that he sent this message to 10 people, Lamoureux received emails from three other people not on Azzam’s list that received this message.
Azzam also stated that he learned of his disqualification over Facebook. Lamoureux sent Azzam notification of his disqualification over email. Azzam reached out to Lamoureux over Facebook Messenger to inquire about the status of his appeal, to which Lamoureux responded that Azzam’s appeal had been rejected, and he was about to make the official statement.
The decision to disqualify Azzam, and the decision to reject his appeal had to go to a vote within the Elections Committee. There are 5 votes, and in each instance, the decision was unanimous.
Azzam also stated that he “remain[s] to be convinced that this allegation was brought forward within the mandated 24 hours of occurrence.” According to Regulation 50 of the Elections & Referenda Regulation, “complaints must be filed within twenty-four (24) hours of the occurrence or discovery of the evidence forming the basis of the complaint.”
While the initial Snapchat was sent on February 21, it was not until Azzam became an official candidate, and the complaint was brought to the CRO, that the Election Committee could act on these violations. The Election Committee could not act until they were given the evidence of the violation, and permission to use this evidence to form a formal complaint. As soon as the Committee was given permission to use the evidence, the investigation into the complaints against Azzam began, placing the complaint within the 24-hour window.