CSA Elections Preview

Friday, February 16, 2007

Written by Gonzalo Moreno

Yes, it’s that time of the year again. In the week of March 19-23 the Central Student Association will hold elections to choose its executive and board of directors for the next school year. With the nominations period closing this Friday, the field will finally be determined for the electoral campaign, which will start on March 12 and end on the morning of March 18.

There have been a series of changes to the campaign rules. Charles Beatty, the CSA’s Chief Electoral Officer, told Thecannon.ca that there will be “slightly higher expense limits for exec and board candidates,” which will translate into “bigger, more visible campaigns” for these candidates. The CSA’s Electoral Office will also use a more aggressive advertising campaign to promote voting in the elections among the general undergraduate population. As of a few hours before the closing of the nominations period, Beatty feels that the number of candidates that have already put their name forward constitutes a “pretty good turnout,” adding that “there are pretty exciting executive races.”

The big controversy of the year came from the adoption of online voting. Although the details of this are not yet finalized, it is very likely that students will be able to vote online for the candidates of their choice this March. As was reported earlier by Thecannon.ca, the way of casting the electronic ballots has rekindled some debate among the student union about the issue. Beatty, however, feels that the system “presents an acceptable level of risk.” For the online voting to go through, the CSA bylaws need to be amended by a majority of two thirds of the board members in their next meeting (February 28).

The other component of student elections is the passing of referendum questions. Beatty says that 14 referendum questions have been put forward and expects that about “eight to ten” of those will make the final ballot. Among them, CSA Local Affairs Commissioner Bre Walt confirmed that the University Administration will be running a question asking for a minimal hike in student fees to help pay for an extensive retrofit campaign, which will help the campus become more energy efficient, making it environmentally friendlier and leading to energy savings in the long run. The final details of the quantity of the proposed hike and of the cost of the retrofit will be disclosed when referendum campaigning starts after Reading Week.

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