As a student-run organization, WUSA’s student leaders are elected annually by Waterloo undergrads to be your student voice, and guide our efforts for the coming year.

WUSA Elections generally take place in the Winter term, where new candidates are nominated for a variety of leadership roles within the organization and students vote on who they want to represent them for the coming year.

Want to learn more about roles related to WUSA governance and find out if being a student representative is right for you? Visit our Board of Directors page for more details. Have specific questions about running for a WUSA Governance position? Email exec@wusa.ca for more info and to chat with one of our current Execs directly.

Feel free to reach out to your CRO for any questions we didn’t answer on this page!

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Important Dates

All times displayed local Waterloo, EST (GMT -5)

Nomination Period: December 1, 2022 – January 25, 2023
Interim Period: January 26, 2023 – January 29, 2023
All Candidates Meeting: January 26, 2023
Campaign Period: January 30, 2023 – February 15, 2023
Voting Period: February 13, 2023 – February 15, 2023
Results: February 17, 2023

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Voting is easier than ever

We’ve compiled everything you need to know about upcoming elections, all in one place! Check out vote.wusa.ca for any active elections, candidate profiles, and virtual ballots.

Simply login using your WATIAM to get involved and make your voice heard!

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Nomination Resources

Know a social advocate who would make an awesome leader? Or do YOU want to drive change that affects the lives of students at uWaterloo and across Canada?

We’ve compiled everything you need to know about nominations, all in one place! Have a look or share it with someone you think would be a great fit for the role! View the WUSA Nominations page for full details on how to make your mark.

WUSA Nominations

Campaign Support

WUSA is here to offer you information, resources, and support to ensure you have the tools you need.

First things first, make sure you review the Elections & Referenda Procedures to learn about your budget*, rules for campaigning, allegations and appeals, and more.

*WUSA will cover the cost of running a campaign for WUSA Executive and Students’ Council candidates. Senate candidates can find budget information in Senate Bylaw 3 (see section 2.02c) opens an external site.

Below you can find all the Campaign marketing resources you can use to get the word out to grow your base of voters:
https://sway.office.com/UCmJ0brGcl1J7n3s?ref=Link

Candidate Elections Logo:

Download Full Colour | Download White Version

Make sure this logo is used on your campaign posters, we also encourage you to use it on any other printed campaign materials.

Don’t forget to submit your candidate profile on vote.wusa.ca to ensure you’re featured on our site and included in any print materials.

While there is no deadline to submit this information, remember that these pages are being promoted from the start of campaign period right until the end. It can take up to three business days for your information to be uploaded to the site. In order to guarantee your information is included in any WUSA print materials be sure to submit before the date stated at the All Candidates Meeting.

Allegations & Appeals

An Allegation is an accusation made that a candidate or referendum campaign committee has done something wrong during the Election period, and is the main mechanism in place to ensure the adherence of procedure and subsequently, the fairness of the election. Allegations remain assertions until they can be proved. Allegation forms exist to streamline the volume of allegations that come in and to help prevent duplicate reports of the same incident. The subject of the allegation can be a candidate, a team, or a referendum campaign committee.

Candidates are disqualified if they reach 11 points – check out point values in Elections & Referenda Procedures in the WUSA library.

Appeals are requests from the alleged to change to the Elections and Referenda Officer’s (ERO) official decision on an allegation. The Chief Returning Officer (CRO) hears all appeals and should include any new information that has come forward. Further appeals beyond this point against the CRO’s decision would go to the Elections and Referenda Committee (ERC).

The CRO or ERC (depending on the appeal) may do any of the following:

1. Uphold the original decision

2. Alter the penalty of the original decision, within the limits of this procedure

3. Refer the ERO or CRO, as the case may be, to review a decision in light of new information or with consideration to a specific section of this procedure

4. Overturn the decision and present an alternate ruling, thereby eliminating the decision’s penalties so received

All rulings rendered by the ERC with respect to a further appeal of a decision made by a CRO shall be final.

If you’re unsure whether or not a violation has occurred, you’re encouraged to report it to the ERO and who will then figure out if it is a violation of procedure or not.

WUSA General Election 2022-2023 Allegation Results

Allegation: Submitted 7/14/2022

Alleged Election Procedure that was violated: Campaigning outside of campaign period.
Allegation Summary:
  • A screenshot of an Instagram story was submitted where Rania’s account was asking viewers to “Vote”.
Counterevidence and Defense:
  • The defendant responded saying they were “spreading the word to get nominations and explaining to folks why they should nominate me as a candidate.”
  • In a further conversation, the defendant further explained that the intention was to receive nominations to become a candidate, and mainly to direct people where to submit nominations.
  • They were not aware of policies against campaigning outside of the campaign period, nor did they assume their actions fell under the definition of campaigning.
ERO Decision:

The evidence provided by the complainant demonstrated a clear message with the words “Nominate Change” and “Vote”, as well as their platform listed as points in the post.

This post constitutes actions defined as campaigning, under rule J.1.2: “The distribution and/or posting of any and all forms of advertising or communication likely to influence voters towards a particular candidate or Referendum option”.

Given the date of the allegation submission being prior to the start of the campaigning period (July 14), it is evident that this promotional material was posted outside of the campaign period which is set to be from July 17th to July 28th
  • This is in violation of rule C.8.4 in which campaigning activities are permitted only during this designated campaigning period.
Penalty:
Considering how this is a first offence, the ERO assigns 2 demerit points to the respondent for campaigning outside of the campaign period.

Allegation: Submitted 7/29/2022

Alleged Election Procedure that was violated:

Candidate influenced voter’s decision in a non-democratic way

Summary of Allegation:

On July 28th the complainant was studying in E7 when they overheard Karl Zhu asking everyone in the room to vote for them in the WUSA election. Many students voted for him before he approached the complainant. They rejected his proposal as it was a clear violation of the academic process, and was infuriated when he asked to two other students next to me to vote for him. When he left the room, one of the girls said she was uncomfortable voting for him and felt that she was pressured to vote for him as he would stay with them until the vote was submitted. He directed students to go to the website, click on his name, and to submit.

The complainant also provided a voice recording of some of the exchange as further evidence.

Counterevidence and Defense:

The defendant responded saying, “in today’s day and age, I can also easily make voice recordings of whatever I want it go say.

In addition, who can say that the complainant didn’t find a couple of people and recorded this recording to falsely frame me?”

ERO Decision:

The following allegation is regarding the defendant pressuring students for votes, and the violation of ERP K.13.3, which was referenced by the complainant in the allegation.

The voice recording provided was the complainant’s most important piece of evidence that could support the claim. While the defendant made the claim that the voice recording may have been fabricated, there is insufficient evidence and explanation to suggest that the voice recording is fake nor was there evidence to suggest that the person in the recording was not the defendant. The rhetoric used in the defense is not enough to disprove the legitimacy of the recording. Thus, the recording will be treated as evidence to the allegation.

The voice recording supported the complainant’s notion that the candidate was approaching people asking them to vote for him. It also corroborated the complainant’s claim that he too was approached by the defendant directly. Approaching potential voters to ask for votes is not a direct violation, however the way in which a candidate presents themselves during this interaction may be subject to a violation under ERP.

Based on the first interaction in the recording, it was unclear if any intimidation was involved. Hence, it is inconclusive to determine if this supports the claim from the submission that “she was uncomfortable voting for him and felt that she was pressured to vote for him as he would stay with them until the vote was submitted” or if that part of the recording was this specific event in question. In addressing a violation of K.13.3, the audio makes it unclear if was voting for him while he was present.

The second part of the recording, involving the complainant and the defendant provided confirmation in the complainant’s account of his interaction. Everything detailed was observed in the recording. It is evident that they were uncomfortable with the interaction based on the email and their responses in the recording. It was also noted that the defendant’s further inquiry about the complainant’s “voting” was unwanted and outside what would constitute of campaigning conducted in good faith.

This is in violation of B.3.6 of ERP, in which “Aggressive campaigning, harassment, or otherwise engaging in behaviour that is either known, or ought reasonably to be known, to be unwanted by any other individual”. These actions reflected “unwanted behavior” with respect to the complainant.

Based on the clear conversations heard, the defendant’s actions did not reflect typical campaigning that would otherwise be permitted when approaching individuals in this manner. The defendant’s greeting to the complainant of “hey, can you do me a quick favor” did not seem as if they were attempting to campaign democratically for a vote, but rather just get students to vote for him without any information.

It is in the spirit of the election to have voters carefully educate themselves on the candidates present in the election and decide based on campaigning skills and candidate platforms. Thus, this behaviour found in the recording will be assessed as a minor contravention to the spirit. This is in relation to the specific interaction involving the complainant, as any other interactions referenced in the allegation do not have sufficient evidence supporting the claim that they also felt uncomfortable.

The defense submitted all together focused on proving that the complainant’s allegation was a means of effecting the defendant’s reputation, with some claims denying the events of the allegation. While the defense and sentiments from the defendant were very troubling, there is insufficient evidence from the defendant in attempting to delegitimize the complainant and the submitted allegation was unsuccessful due to insufficient evidence. The reddit post in the counter-defense was claimed by the defendant to be about them, however the actual post that was made public did not provide explicitly name any of the parties involved. Hence, there is a lack of evidence from the defendant proving that the complainant had ulterior motives and a lack of evidence that it effected their votes due to the anonymity of reddit posts’ subject.

Penalty:

The ERO assigns 6 demerit points to the defendant for a minor contravention of the spirit. The decision reflected in this ruling does not consider any of the parties’ alleged past conflicts due to its speculative nature and is solely based on the evidence and counterevidence surrounding the subject of the allegation.

Appeal:

The defendant appealed the ERO’s decision, and provided the following:

“Who are we to say that other candidates did not go around and tell other students to file false allegations against me? We can clearly see that from the comment section of the Reddit post (https://www.reddit.com/r/uwaterloo/comments/watxrv/wusa_director_votes/), there are 3 other candidates who commented, telling the OP to file an allegation.

If we are playing this game, I can get other students and myself to file hundreds of allegations against the other candidates to falsely frame them. Would you also believe these allegations, and assign demerit points to them as well?

Furthermore, the Reddit post clearly alludes to the false incidents that happened two years ago, where others falsely slandered me and impersonated me as I was running for WUSA Student Council. In addition, there were comments that mentioned my name, but they were quickly deleted. As a result, the Reddit post clearly is referring to me, yet falsely doing so. Even though the Reddit post was made 30 minutes before the end of the election, who is to say that this post did not affect the decisions of voters? There could be a large number of voters who saw the post as the subreddit has 83,300 subscribers, and then voted against their own opinions based on this fictitious Reddit post. These voters could have then told their friends, who told their friends, and so on, drastically changing the results of the election.

Even now, with the Reddit post still up, it is still showing others a false impression of myself. Future employers can see it, other students that I may work with in the future can see it, clubs and organizations can all see it. Who’s to say that this Reddit post won’t ruin my life, now, or in the future? To this day, I feel very unsafe and that my safety and wellbeing is at a compromise. Dealing with all of these false allegations have led me to have so many sleepless nights over the past few days, which have caused me to have a severe cough and me feeling extremely dizzy as I write this. Is WUSA or the school going to deal with my health repercussions? When will WUSA or the school help me feel safe at my own institution?”

CRO Decision:

The decision by the ERO was appropriately made on narrow grounds and in narrow terms: the appellant was assigned demerit points for having committed a minor violation of the spirit of the ERP, specifically for violating section B(3)(6) of the ERP by engaging in “behaviour that is either known, or ought reasonably to be known, to be unwanted by any other individual”. Demerit points were not assigned for the broader offence under K(13)(3) initially pursued by the complainant (being present and attempting to influence a voter while they are voting) as there was not sufficient evidence to find the defendant guilty of this offence. The evidence submitted by the complainant included a voice recording which clearly showed an interaction between the complainant and defendant in which the defendant was engaging in unwanted behaviour by continuing to pursue the vote of the complainant and trying to find out for whom they voted after it was made clear that the complainant did not wish to say. In response to the recording, the defendant essentially called into question the legitimacy of the evidence without having formally made an accusation that it was false. This puzzles me. If the defendant had known for a fact that he hadn’t at all engaged in the type of behaviour at the centre of this allegation and appeal (going up to voters and asking them to vote for him, etc.), he would have formally submitted that the evidence was false, as opposed to merely calling it into question by raising the possibility that it was false. By failing to do this, the defendant essentially concedes that the evidence may be legitimate, and that the campaigning tactics it shows are reflective of the tactics he used in his campaign, otherwise he would have unequivocally denied the recording’s legitimacy. It seems most likely that the evidence is legitimate, and that the defendant had only called it into question to weaken the complainant’s case, without going so far as to formally accuse the complainant of fabricating evidence. Although it is quite possible that the defendant does not recall the interaction that took place in the voice recording, if the defendant did recall the interaction and still decided to call into question what he knew to be legitimate evidence, we would be dealing here with a much more serious offence of misleading the ERO. There isn’t sufficient evidence here to pursue that line of reasoning.

As for the appeal, the appellant did not address the grounds on which the ERO made their decision, resorting only to once again calling into question the legitimacy of the allegation without providing sufficient evidence for why a vexatious or frivolous allegation against them would be made. Once again, the ERO appropriately made a narrow decision in light of the speculative nature of the allegation and the limited evidence available, the defendant was only held accountable for the one interaction that took place in a voice recording, which clearly went beyond the limits of campaigning in good faith. The complainant was not ultimately forced by the defendant to vote, and the defendant was not deemed to have violated K(13)(3), being assigned demerit points only for the aggressive campaigning which was evidently present in the recording.

CRO Decision:

The CRO upholds the ruling of the ERO.

The complainant appealed the CRO’s decision, and provided the following:

They also added information regarding an argument around the notion that the candidate was “asking for a favour” from potential voters, leading the candidate to campaign to them, making some uncomfortable who were simply expecting a simple request. The complainant found this manipulative. They also went onto say that this was not included in their original allegation because though they considered it “immoral, it was not against the rules of the election.”

The complainant added the following:

“After the defendant’s claim that the voice recording was falsified, and the incident did not occur the way I described, the CRO stated in their response. ‘Although it is quite possible that the defendant does not recall the interaction that took place in the voice recording, if the defendant did recall the interaction and still decided to call into question what he knew to be legitimate evidence, we would be dealing here with a much more serious offence of misleading the ERO. There isn’t sufficient evidence here to pursue that line of reasoning.’”

The complainant asserted that the defendant intentionally misled the CRO based on the fact that the argument in question was a memorable 5-minute exchange. The complainant also included 2 witnesses who also described the exchange but wished to remain anonymous (reasonable since only the person who files the allegation must be identified).

ERC Decision:

In light of the additional information and supporting evidence provided, the ERC determined that the respondent was in fact guilty of misleading the ERO during the course of the initial allegation, as their defence therein called into question the legitimacy of a recording of events that the respondent was very likely to have recalled by the time the allegation was submitted. This is supported by the additional information provided about the length and intensity of the interaction at the centre of the initial allegation, information bolstered by witness statements. In making this ruling, the ERC holds that the issue of misleading the ERO, being a topic discussed by the CRO in their decision on the initial appeal, is not so beyond the scope of the initial allegation as to require a separate allegation to be brought – especially in light of the fact that the respondent, given the timing of the allegation and appeal here, would not have had the opportunity to file an additional allegation within the deadline prescribed by the ERP. The penalty for misleading the ERO or CRO is 11 demerit points according to the ERP’s demerit points schedule. The ERC assigns 11 demerit points, since this results in the disqualification of the respondent, the ERC is required to confirm this penalty by a majority of two thirds, a threshold that was met when the ERC itself voted to make this decision.

Allegation: Submitted 7/29/2022 – #2

Alleged Election Procedure that was violated and evidence:

Campaigning outside of campaign period.

Summary of Allegation:

On Bombshelter Patio, the complainant saw Karl Zhu approach another table where a couple was studying and repeatedly ask them to nominate him on vote.wusa.ca for the Director role. He allegedly stood there for 10 minutes as the couple repeatedly said that they didn’t want to nominate him because they didn’t know him, which led him to try to introduce himself and talk about himself, as well as repeatedly asking them why they wouldn’t nominate him and who else they were nominating. They seemed to eventually nominate him.

The complainant described it at “grossly unprofessional, it was harassment, and it shouldn’t be tolerated.”

Counterevidence and Defense:

The defendant simply dismissed the claim as slander and a false attempt to bring them down.

ERO Decision:

Both parties of the allegation lack any real and corroborative evidence to support the allegation and defense. However, the previous allegation submitted prior did involve the same subject matter and defendant and will be taken into consideration with regards to this ruling.

There was reasonable received in the prior allegation that supported the notion of the defendant making a complainant uncomfortable, to receive votes. There is also reasonable evidence that the defendant has been approaching people directly during the election period to get support in general.

Given the defendant’s history, there is reason to believe an event did transpire and nonetheless it would be considered at the very least to be campaigning outside of the campaign period. As campaigning is not permitted during nomination period as stated in ERP C.8.4.

However, since the complainant’s allegation involves an event that did not directly involve them, it is difficult to determine if the party involved felt pressured to nominate the defendant or if there is an alternative story to the one provided, especially due to the lack of evidence.

Penalty:

The ERO assigns 2 demerit points for campaigning outside of campaign period.

An Appeal Followed:

Appeal

The appellant provided the following:

As the complainant is another candidate for the Board of Directors, and that there is no evidence of the violation whatsoever in this situation, this allegation is completely absurd. This is clearly a situation of where this candidate felt that they did not get a lot of votes, and thus, wanted to falsely bring down some of their top competitors.

If we are playing this game, I can very easily get other students and myself to file hundreds, if not thousands of allegations against the other candidates to also give them a “history”. Would you also believe these allegations based on their “history”, and assign false demerit points to them as well?”

CRO Decision:

The ERO assigned to the defendant in the allegation demerit points for campaigning outside of the campaign period, on the grounds that evidence from another allegation showed that the defendant had a history of engaging in similar behaviour (specifically, going up to potential voters and attempting to convince them to vote/nominate them). I find this reasoning troubling in this case because it might well be the case that the defendant employs these tactics during campaign period but does not do so during the nomination period since campaigning of any kind is not permitted in that period. Using evidence of the defendant’s commission of one offence to prove their commission of another (with an arguably higher standard of proof, since it is time-dependent) does not make the most sense here. Perhaps the defendant knew that he was not supposed to be campaigning outside of the campaign period but did not know about the rules pertaining to aggressive campaigning, leading him to campaign aggressively, but only during the campaign period. If anything, the testimony provided by the complainant here would better serve as evidence in relation to the other allegation involving this candidate (since it bolsters the claim that the candidate was present and influenced the nominations/votes of voters). As I understand it, the order in which the allegations were submitted would have rendered this impossible. Nonetheless, a candidate’s history of using certain tactics during campaign period is not sufficient evidence that they would have behaved similarly outside campaign period, as the ERP explicitly require candidates to behave differently at different times.

Penalty:

The CRO reverses the decision of the ERO, no demerit points are assigned in relation to this allegation.

The complainant appealed the CRO’s decision, and provided the following:

The complainant added information as to the defendant’s claim of no evidence and the allegation only being a shallow attempt to bring down a fellow candidate. They explained that this exchange happened before the complainant had planned to run for the position and added that a witness would be able to corroborate what happened. This witness was reached out to and provided a text exchange from the day where the complainant described the situation to him on the day of the incident in mid-July.

The complainant also noted that this was a separate occurrence from the other allegation that the ERO referred to in the original decision, though they confirmed that it was of a similar nature. They also believed that the prior case needed to be considered as it demonstrated “consistent banned activities, as otherwise it would be incredibly difficult for any legitimate series of complaints to be properly dealt with if they could not be considered in context.”

ERC Decision:

The additional evidence provided reinforces the appellant’s claim (the ERO’s initial decision in favour of the complainant was reversed on the basis of insufficient evidence). There is now sufficient evidence for the events that were described in the initial allegation. In light of this evidence, the ERC assigns 6 demerit points for a minor violation of the spirit of the ERP. The candidate placed undue pressure on students to submit nominations.

  • A complaint about a team name featuring the term “geese” being against policy against team names and colours being different from official university symbols/colours. While the goose is gernally accepted to be the official symbol of WUSA – as decided in a 2018 council meeting – it’s not necessarily reflected in official University branding which is the purview of the rule. This concept will be reviewed in the future.
  • A complaint about an Instagram story post of someone who seemed to be a friend or arms-length-party individual of one of the candidates advertising free donuts for votes. After back-and-forth with this person and the candidate they seemed to be supporting, it seemed to be a joke and the post was taken down.