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Candidates serenade potential supporters

by Archives March 20, 2002

“It was like watching the African serengeti.”
That is how Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Stephen Herman described the stampede of election candidates who submitted their nomination forms just shy of the stroke of midnight – and deadline – two Mondays ago.
It is a phenomenon he hopes will repeat itself when Concordia students vote next week for the third time this year, and he’s been doing some serious hustling to get the masses informed.
And to the polls.
Last Thursday, the office of the CEO hosted a meet-and-greet at Reggie’s, and invited students to pop in for a drink, to mingle, and make would-be student leaders work for their votes.
“We really didn’t get as many people as we were hoping for, but at the same time we got those who were interested. They asked proper questions and the information was out there, so I’m glad we had it,” said Deputy Electoral Officer (DEO) Youri Cormier. “It’s the first time in history we’ve done this kind of thing, if it works halfway as much as we want to, it’s a good precedent for next year.”
Members from both CANDO and the RU were in attendance, as were a smattering of council hopefuls.
But for most of the students there, it was beer, as usual.
“You have to be pro-active,” said RU VP finance candidate John Evans, who said that the onus is on candidates to approach students, not the other way around.
Many faces in the crowd that ran on executive slates are now sniffing out council seats.
Luis Diaz, formerly of the New Organized Way and one of the protagonists in last November’s bribery scandal, is one of them. “The buck stops at council and you need responsible and same-minded people in council; that’s representative, it doesn’t matter who’s in government.” Diaz added that as a result of the way the last elections unfolded, that he became disenchanted with the process.
RU presidential candidate Chris Schulz, with his “new and improved” lineup, says it boils down to a matter of priorities and resources, which include time and energy. “Members of the first-generation RU worked approximately 15-20 hours each week on the CSU for almost three months,” he said. “It’s a full time job, and when the elections were annulled, many of them couldn’t hold off their studies anymore for something that was so difficult to get involved with.”
Over in the CANDO corner, slate members passed out pamphlets extensively outlining their platform.
“Our slate is committed to alleviating some of the struggles that students go through. That’s something we can do, pardon the pun,” said CANDO VP academic candidate Ralph Lee. “We have a stronger platform and a much greater vision.”
While Lee says that the RU “doesn’t really have a platform,” some RU candidates say that CANDO’s doesn’t address issues other than ones that the CSU by definition is mandated to. “They’ve been in Concordia politics for a long time, and if people really want change then I think it’s time for students to move on and make that change,” said Evans.
Candidates for the slates have spent the last couple of weeks feverishly storming classrooms, slapping up posters, and even serenading students in line for the People’s Potato.
So overall, how is the campaigning going?
“There are a lot of little brushfires I’ve had to put out lately,” Herman said, adding he’s impressed that slates so far have managed to keep it clean. Aside from the usual squabbles over postering, the mud-slinging that characterized the last round of campaigning has been conspicuous by its absence, he said.
Herman said pre-balloting preparations are going so smoothly “I could run the polling tomorrow. Council has given us additional resources to make sure polling is accessible.” He added this means he has access to as much cash as it takes to fulfill his mandate.
Among other things, he intends to have more polling stations, which will be “overstaffed,” to ensure that voting is quick and easy for Concordians.
So what’s different this time?
“Everything!” he boomed.

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