Electoral misconduct may have occurred at DowningDavid Jones

Downing College’s JCR elections have faced accusations of impropriety, with outgoing members of the JCR Committee, among others, coming under scrutiny for their conduct during the election.

Certain members of the JCR Committee are alleged to have messaged members of the college via Facebook, encouraging them to vote for specific individuals for election.

Such conduct is thought to be in breach of Downing JCR election rules, which stipulate that “no other written material or posters are allowed. This includes using the forums such as Facebook to promote you or your policies. The only permitted form of campaigning is “face to face”, and rules state that candidates “should not send out, or allow others to send out, mass emails encouraging people to vote for you or promoting […] policies.”

In Facebook messages seen by Varsity, an outgoing member of Downing JCR Committee encouraged a member of the college to vote for a specific candidate, Downing’s outgoing LGBT+ Officer Tom Meadows.

The message acknowledges its illicit nature, with the sender noting: “I’m technically not allowed to do this so shhh”.

Medha Bhasin, outgoing President of Downing JCR Committee, told Varsity that she believed that breaches of election campaigning rules “do not invalidate the result”.

Despite Varsity’s evidence that these practices, such as messaging on Facebook in breach of election rules, were widespread, Bhasin asserted: “in general people respect the election guidelines”, calling the concerted campaign to elect specific individuals on the part of outgoing JCR members “an error of judgement”.

The Downing JCR President claimed that she had spoken to the outgoing JCR members involved, and claimed that they were “apologetic for any grievance caused”.

She expressed a desire to “impress upon the incoming JCR the importance of clear election guidelines”.

One second-year Downing undergraduate said: “I think the election is undermined by the outgoing JCR clearly favouring the presidential candidate from their committee.”