Natasha Launi was elected as VP communications of the arts and science federation of associations last week in an election that saw less than three per cent of eligible voters visit ballot boxes.
Of the approximately 17, 000 arts and science undergraduates at Concordia, only 393 voted in the by-election. Launi received 199 votes, giving her 50.6 per cent of the total, over 20 per cent more than her competitor Golam Kazi.
The elections barely made the quorum needed for the elections results to be considered valid, which is set at only two and a half per cent, or 375 votes. “Obviously we tried hard to get more,” said chief electoral officer Nick Cuillerier. “I respect students’ decisions to not vote, however I do have some recommendations to council that will hopefully encourage student participation.”
Cuillerier spoke before the ASFA council last Thursday offering a preliminary report on the by-election. After logging over 100 hours of observing and analyzing the by-election along with the deputy electoral officer, Cuillerier offered a few suggestions as to how he believes the election process could be improved upon, such as removing the polling station in Loyola’s administration building and replacing it with one either in the library building or the communications and journalism building.
The poor election turnout also came despite a seemingly aggressive marketing campaign by the CEO.
For the second year in a row, Facebook advertising was used in relation to an ASFA election, but this fall the ads were targeted to a very specific demographic of Concordia students in the Montreal area.
“I am glad to say that the ASFA logo with the by-election was seen 650,000 times by Concordia university students, and that is crazy,” Cuillerier told councillors. The advertisements only cost ASFA $46.40, and despite the fact that only 65 people actually clicked on the ad and put “attending” for the event, Cuillerier still felt that it was an extremely reasonable sum for the extensive exposure the organization received.
“I felt it made a really good positive push in terms of advertising,” Cuillerier said. “We’d like to improve and continue upon that for the general election.”
The unimpressive turnout overshadowed an extremely friendly campaign period during which both candidates casually interacted and no problems were reported.
“The behaviour between both candidates was exemplary,” Cuillerier said. “I think it really put a good standard for Concordia going forward, for all associations, as to how maturity and professionalism can really bring about a smooth and clean election process.”
After thanking the students who took the time to vote, Launi wrote in an email that “Golam Nazakat Kazi was an incredibly nice and genuine competitor. I don’t have anything bad to say about him and that means a lot in student politics.”
The students also voted 90 per cent in favour on a referendum question of adding a seat to ASFA’s sustainable committee to be filled by a member of Sustainable Concordia.
As for ASFA’s new VP comms, Launi said she has already begun to work on the association’s image, website and posters, and plans to soon present other “interesting media propositions” to her committee.
By the numbers:
393 – Number of students who voted in the Arts and Science Federation of Associations fall by-election
17,000 – Approximate number of students in the faculty of Arts and Science
2.5% – Necessary percentage of students voting in order to make by-election quorum