So far, so good.
That’s how the Concordia Student Union chief electoral officer described the week-old campaign for next year’s CSU representatives.
But after last year’s display of “petty politics,” CEO Oliver Cohen said he is aware this may well be the calm before the storm.
“Last year was pretty wild. Everybody kept me up pretty late,” Cohen said, referring to the over 20 contestations he fielded during and after the 2009 campaign. “So far, everybody’s playing by the rules. But I don’t want to jinx myself.”
So far this year, Cohen has only received one contestation, which is seeking to have one of four referendum question stricken from the ballot.
That question involves the matter of Concordia undergraduate students’ continued membership in the Canadian Federation of Students.
The contestation was filed by Audrey Peek, a registered chairperson for the campaign to maintain the union’s membership status. Last year, Peek ran for CSU president with the Change slate, which came in second place, 609 votes short of making it into office.
Peek’s slate was also the source of the majority of contestations Cohen received last year, many based on trying to overturn the election it deemed “dirty” and “unfair.” The election was never overturned.
Cohen wouldn’t discuss his thoughts or ruling on Peek’s current contestation, as he has not yet officially submitted a decision.
“I guess I can expect the same behaviour from the same people this year,” Cohen said, recognizing the question to maintain membership with the CFS has been 8212; and will likely continue to be 8212; a source of contention and possibly more contestations.
Looking at the positive side, Cohen noted that the friction and strife may help increase voter turnout.
“For a lot of students election day is just another day,” Cohen said. “But we’re hoping the referendum will spark something in students.”
Cohen, with the help of some CSU members and other students, has been advertising the election and talking with students in an effort to increase interest in the election.
Last year, 4,627 students voted for the executives, which equalled 13.8 per cent of the total undergraduate population in 2008-2009.
“I’m not too impressed with the involvement here,” Cohen said. “It’s hard to predict how much students will care, but if anything the issues this year are just as important.”