Justin Monaco-Barnes is President-elect of the McMaster Students Union

January 29, 2016 at 03:45 am

The votes are in and the results have been ratified by the Elections Committee.  Justin Monaco-Barnes won the 2016 MSU Presidential election and is President-elect of the McMaster Students Union. The President takes office on May 1, 2016 but will begin the transition process in the coming weeks.

Voter turnout for the 2016 MSU Presidential election was 44.5% with 9,478 students voting this year. This is the most ballots ever cast in a MSU election and continues the impressive upward trend in McMaster student voter turnout.  This marks three consecutive years with more than 40% of students voting in the MSU Presidential election.

The Elections Committee, charged with overseeing all elections of and within the MSU, has completed the campaign evaluation process by assessing fines and addressing complaints levied against candidates. To that effect,  Presidential candidate Sarah Jama was disqualified from the election by the Elections Committee, for what was deemed by the Committee to be excessive campaign rule violations.

UPDATED from original post:

The Chief Returning Officer has met with Ms. Jama personally to explain the Election Committee's decision to disqualify her.  Specifically, the Elections Committee has deemed Ms. Jama's campaign to be in violation of rule 6.1 Spending Limit, to which rule 7.8.3 applies in such that "[c}andidates shall be fined 100% of the amount that exceeds the spending limit.

As well, the Elections Committee has deemed Ms. Jama to be in violation of rule 2.1 - "Bad taste" which "... shall include but not limited to material that is determined by the Returning Officers to be: sexist, racist, heterosexist, homophobic, pornographic, obscene, derogatory or prejudicial to any member of the McMaster community.

The evidence on which these violations are founded will be made available in the minutes of the Election Committee's Presidential election fines meeting.  As those minutes must be first be formally prepared and subsequently ratified by the Elections Committee, they will likely be made available for public consumption early (to mid) next week.  That said, the Chief Returning Officer has already shown Ms. Jama the evidence used by the Elections Committee to make its decision of disqualification. Furthermore, all presidential candidates have been invited to review the evidence used to generate their respective fines.

Results are considered unofficial at this time, as all candidates have five business days to appeal their fines and contest the results. Appeals would be heard first be the Elections Committee, and a subsequent appeal would be heard by the Elections Appeal Board (EAB). Decisions of the EAB will be final.

Round by round breakdown of results:



In addition to the Presidential election, a Constitutional referendum regarding the potential to shift Vice Presidential elections to an at large format was on this year’s ballot.  As this was a Constitutional referendum, (meaning a change to the Constitution of the MSU) an affirmative vote of 2/3’s majority or 66.7% was needed to pass. Abstentions played no role in the outcome of this particular referendum.


Are you in favour of changing the MSU Constitution to include an at large MSU Vice President Election?

YES - 4590
NO - 2321
Abstentions - 2567

Calculation of %  = YES votes / (YES votes + NO votes)
                                = 4590 / (4590 + 2321)
                                = 4590 / 6911
                                = 66.4158% and the referendum FAILS


To learn more about the operations and finances of the McMaster Students Union, please download the 2015/2016 MSU State of the Union document.

For more information concerning the 2016 presidential election or referendum, please contact:

Priya Gupta
Chief Returning Officer
905-585-9140 ext. 24118


Helen Zeng
Deputy Returning Officer

Posted in: General, President, MSU Departments & Services, Board of Directors | 2 Comment(s)
On January 29 2016 at 6:27 PM Anonymous said:

Hello Zoe,

As per Bylaw 10 - Elections rule 7.1.5, if a candidate or referendum side is disqualified ... after polling has taken place, the disqualified ... candidate shall be declared “out of race” and his or her first choice ballot recounted in accordance with the second choice indicated on the ballot.

So what that means is the software used by the MSU Elections Department (Simply Voting), can remove a disqualified candidate from the election, however all second preferences are immediately tabulated and redistributed to the remaining candidates, as seen in round one of the table above.

So, ballots cast by students who voted for a D/Q'd candidate as their 'first choice' or 'first preference' are still valid ballots and remain inside the preferential redistribution system. The system simply ignores the first place preference and shifts the ballots to the candidates noted as second (and subsequent) preference(s) as per the selection on each ballot.

On January 29 2016 at 10:49 AM Zoe said:

What happened to Sarah Jama's votes?

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