Feb 29, 2024

Sabbat Welfare Candidate Nathan Harrington Struck from Ballot

The Electoral Commission released a statement on the TCDSU Instagram this morning

Hosanna BoulterNews Editor
Photo by Bridget McBruiser for The University Times

Nathan Harrington, one of this year’s candidates to be the Welfare and Equality Sabbatical officer, has been struck from the ballot by the Electoral Commission (EC).

In a statement released on the TCDSU Instagram page, the EC explained that it had made the ruling in accordance with Section 1.7.3 of Schedule 3 of the Union’s Constitution. This section of the TCDSU’s Constitution states that if a sabbatical officer’s campaign team “accrues more than 100 points, they are disqualified from the election or referendum”.

The TCDSU Constitution also lays out how a campaign team may breach the election regulations directly or “in spirit”. Once the breach has been determined, a point system is then used by the EC to determine the severity of this breach in regulations. There are four so-called “classes” of breaches, ranging from A-D (with Class A being the most severe and Class D being the least severe). No one breach alone can get a candidate disqualified as Class A breaches bring a total of 95 points, and over 100 are needed to be disqualified. A campaign team also has the right to appeal the EC’s ruling by requesting for the Appeals Board to be convened.


The EC’s statement revealed that Nathan Harrington’s campaign team had appealed the disqualification but ultimately the Appeals Board, “after due consideration”, chose to uphold the EC’s initial ruling.

The statement did not reveal the exact TCDSU regulation(s) that Nathan Harrington’s campaign team had violated. A screenshot has been uploaded to the Instagram for Harrington’s campaign team which appears to show the Appeals Board’s reason for upholding the EC’s decision to strike him from the ballot. The screenshot reads: “That reviewing the Electoral Commission decision, it was a reasonable determination to find the candidate committed a serious violation of the College’s Dignity and Respect Policy in respect of one comment made in the candidates manifesto, i.e., “Priority fire exits for disableds”; That having determined this was a serious breach the Electoral Commission was entitled to impose the sanction it did…You have therefore been struck from the ballot”.

Harrington has run a controversial campaign to be next year’s Welfare and Equality Sabbatical Officer. He was accused of mocking disabled people in his manifesto by referring to them by the term “disableds”, as well as allegedly ridiculing people who either state their pronouns in their Instagram bio or are not cis-gender by his use of the pronouns, “per/ve” in his Instagram bio. In the Council and Equality Hustings, Harrington stated his belief that giving chocolate to his “homies” would be a more effective distribution of College resources than giving a lump sum to a food bank or providing financial aid for transgender students.

For these actions and comments Harrington accumulated considerable backlash, including a protest by the Dublin Chapter of Empower the Voice, who wrote their concerns about his candidacy on the chalkboard in the room that was then to be used for the Media Hustings.

In response to the backlash, Harrington released a statement on his campaign’s official Instagram page stating, “I’m personally devastated to hear that some people have become upset with my campaign of love, care and inclusivity”.

The EC is not providing further comment at this time.

In response to being struck off the ballot, Harrington’s campaign team took to Instagram to say, “It’s a sad day when identity-first language gets a young Nathan disqualified. Thank you all for your continued support on this and remember to vote RON #1 at the polls”.

Throughout this campaigning season the level of sincerity with which Harrington was running his campaign remained somewhat elusive. Due to the attention grabbing and controversial nature of some of his campaign team’s actions it has been suggested that he was running as a so-called “joke candidate”.

With Harrington being struck from the ballot, the two remaining candidates for Welfare and Equality Sabbatical Officer are Hamza Bana and Hannah McAuley. A recent poll carried out by The University Times revealed Hamza Bana to be the current frontrunner.

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