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Passover extension discounted

by Archives March 20, 2002

The CSU council of representatives decided not to add an extra day of voting to make up for an overlap between polling day and Passover.
Instead it encouraged Chief Electoral Officer Stephan Herman to make the issue public knowledge and guaranteed him financial support to make the election run as smoothly as possible.
Council also rejected the idea of increasing the number of polling stations and extending the voting hours.
The Passover celebrations will keep close to 1,000 Jewish students busy after sunset on March 27 and it will leave them short of at least one full day of voting.
“Passover is one of the major holidays and the first two days are very important,” said Patrick Amar, president of Concordia’s Jewish association Hillel. “I am not trying to change the [bylaws]. I just want to give all Jewish students their right to vote.”
He approached council last Wednesday with the proposition of adding another voting day to give Jewish students the possibility to cast their votes.
The question sparked a heated debate between councillors. While it was generally agreed that this was an important issue, no consensus was immediately reached for an appropriate procedure. Requests for March 25 as the additional day were quickly countered by cautious reminders that the election campaign had already started. Changes in regulations could lead to contestations and even the annulment of the election.
“This is ridiculous, we shouldn’t even vote on this. The election needs to end on the last Thursday in March after three consecutive days,” interim President Patrice Blais said. “We’d be violating half a dozen election regulations [by adding another day]. We should discuss this for the future, but not now, since the campaign is under way.”
The possibility of annulment seemed to be especially severe after last November’s problematic byelection and the resulting confusion. After Chris Schulz’s Representative Union was disqualified and then requalified in one day, the election was annulled because proper electoral procedures were not followed.
“I think it is out of order now,” councillor Tom Keefer said, “people should have brought this up in time.”
Amar was not impressed. “This is the CEO’s function anyhow. I don’t see how it helps the Jewish students in particular.”
However, he acknowledged the importance of informing the affected students.
“I am going to make sure to reach out to as many Jews as I can it is important that they come out and vote on Tuesday and Wednesday morning.”

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