Following a report from the Union’s Election Tribunal, The Standing Committee has decided to not conduct a re-poll for the election of the President for Hilary term 2021.
The Election Tribunal were asked to investigate after 507 illicit votes were lodged in the names of registered voters in a Second Election for the presidency carried out on 19th June. The Tribunal did conclude that the election had experienced “substantial interference”, and the votes were all cast in the same preference order from seven separate IP addresses, most of which were located overseas.
In terms of how registered voters’ Unique Voting Codes (UVCs) were stolen, the report concludes, “the most likely route was an operator making use of a generic Oxford Union email address to enter the SharePoint site and to copy the entire set of UVC codes without the knowledge of Mi-Voice or the Returning Officer.”
These registered voters logged in to vote and found that a vote had already been cast in their name. Members were able to lodge a support ticket in this instance and successfully vote.
The Tribunal, made up of Ex-Returning Officer, an Ex-President and an Ex-Treasurer, presented three options. “The Tribunal unanimously took the view that the best and fairest way to deal with the Second Election was to invite the same registered electors to vote amongst the same four candidates, as soon as possible.” The other two options were to consider the untainted votes which “could produce a fair enough result of the Second Election” or to hold a new election at the start of Michaelmas term 2020, although this was regarded as a “very unsatisfactory option”.
The Standing Committee voted for the second option, and the result will be announced on Thursday.
An anonymous member of The Standing Committee commented, “we were unconvinced another online poll would be secure, especially given the tribunal were unable to determine the original perpetrators.” The Tribunal noted, “with more time, such individuals might be identified, but despite great diligence, that evidence has not been forthcoming”.
This term’s election cycle has seen unprecedented events, with Re-Open Nominations winning the First Election for presidency, following the presidential candidate being accused of making racist remarks to other committee members.