Group of UNA residents didn’t receive mailed ballots, notified the day before voting ended

A group of residents in the University Neighbourhoods Association (UNA) did not receive their ballots in the mail during the recent UNA Board of Directors election.

In an email sent to those living in postal code area V6T 1Z4 — which encompasses parts of Hawthorn Place — on Monday, November 29, the UNA said residents may not have received an election package because ballots “might have been returned due to a change in postal code.”

“If you are receiving this email and have not received your elections package in the mail, you can pick one up from the Wesbrook Community Centre, the Old Barn Community Centre or the UNA Main Office during operating hours,” the email read.

The email, sent around 2:45 p.m. Monday evening, reminded residents that they had until 4:30 p.m. the next day to submit their ballot. Voting was open from November 8 to November 30.

In a statement sent to The Ubyssey, UNA Chief Administrative Officer Sundance Topham said 130 members were informed about the potential issue “prior to the deadline for picking up replacement packages.”

“For clarity, no members were left off of any mailout, and all members were sent ballot packages, but there may have been an issue with the postal code in their addresses,” he wrote.

Topham said it wasn’t obvious that there was an issue with the postal code area — “[returned ballot packages] typically just have an ‘undeliverable sticker’ over the mailing address, so it’s not something that jumps out” — but that the Association notified impacted residents as soon as possible.

He added the UNA would conduct an audit of returned ballot packages to update its membership list, but that “it’s ultimately up to residents to make sure their membership data is current.”

All residents were told more than once to pick up an election package if one did not arrive in the mail, according to Topham. The residents living in postal code area V6T 1Z4 were only notified about their particular situation the day before voting ended.

Dr. Matías Salibián-Barrera, a professor in the department of statistics who didn’t receive an elections package, tweeted that the email from the UNA was the first notification from the Association on this matter.

“The whole former 1Z4 zip code was left out of the ballot mailing list (we never got the ballots), were only told we never would the night b4 the last day we could vote. That's a lot of households and UNA members,” he tweeted.

Dr. Charles Menzies, an anthropology professor, also brought up the issue on Twitter, noting that many who were impacted were UBC faculty and staff.

The election to elect seven members to the UNA’s Board of Directors ended last night. Although four student candidates ran — and the AMS budgeted $7,400 to fund their campaigns — none were elected. The election turnout was 20 per cent — or 1,209 votes cast — according to Topham.

This piece has been updated. The email to impacted residents was sent around 2:45 p.m., not around 10:45 p.m. as originally written.