by Jenn VanRiper
The upcoming University of Regina Students’ Union elections have been postponed. The decision was made by Tiffany Kearse, the chief returning officer for URSU.
“Basically as the CRO I have power to do those sort of things, either postpone the elections or change of days, that sort of thing,” Kearse said.
The nomination period was re-opened March 1 for a number of positions.
Campaigning will start again on March 9 and run until March 16. During the second round of campaigning, a 50 per cent poster blackout will be in effect.
The election was postponed because of a few hiccups with logistics and the number of vacant board positions according to Kearse. “I just felt it was the best decision to ensure a fair election and make sure as many positions were filled as possible,” she said.
However, there has been speculation that an infraction made by Kyle Addison was the reason for postponement. In his President’s Report published in the Carillon’s Feb. 4 edition, Addison stated, “As a third year student, I’m very lucky to have the opportunity to seek election as URSU President again next year.” Announcing his candidacy could be seen as a form of campaigning and was published outside of the original campaigning period, from Feb. 22 to March 2.
“Infractions can be dealt with in a number of different ways. The best way to put it is that if I thought he (Addison) did something that was an out and out infraction of the whole election and put it jeopardy, he would have been kicked out. There were a number of reasons the election was postponed; anything to do with the candidates was minor,” said Kearse.
When asked about the infraction, Addison said, “I apologize for any confusion that one of my President's Reports may have caused. My intent was that of good nature, and I do not consider the content to be campaigning.
I can however see both sides of the argument, and if I had the opportunity to turn back the hands of time, I would have left that sentence out of the report.”
More confusion surrounds the make-up of the ballot itself. Some believe a yes/no vote was unconstitutionally removed from the ballot.
Kearse said the yes/no vote was never in the election by-laws and wasn’t included because of the electronic voting now in place for the first time. Making the yes/no option required in the by-law was proposed to the board of directors last year and was rejected.
Mike Burton, former URSU president, said it should have been passed by last year’s board. “That’s who dropped the ball,” said Burton.
Burton said there are two reasons for acclamations: either the CRO didn’t advertise well enough or people assume the incumbents are doing a good job or are going to win anyway. As to having a yes/no vote, Burton said, “What happens if people vote no?”
There has been a lot of criticism about Kearse’s lack of experience. But Burton believes the number of vacant positions was caused by more than a lack of advertising. There is a lack of interest among the student population.
“How did Bhabani know and not anybody else?” he asked. Apathy is partially the CRO’s fault for not advertising well enough but also the students for not being engaged, he said.
Burton said you can’t be on campus and not notice the posters for nominations. Last year 1,979 people voted on the U-Pass referendum in year which is pretty good for something that was supposedly not well advertised said Burton.
Kearse agreed advertising was not the major factor.“We had a lot of advertising the first time around. I’ve tried to do the same thing just more this time. I think part of it was maybe lack of knowledge, maybe apathy,” said Kearse.
The Nomination Period closed on March 8 at 4:30 pm and the all candidates meeting will now be held on March 15 in the Riddell Multipurpose Room.