Chief Electoral Officer of the CSU, Jason Druker, wants a problem-free election. He said he is more prepared for this week’s by-election than he was for the general election last spring, from which allegations of electoral fraud still lingers.
Druker said that he has been working with David Baker, the Service Assistant to the Dean of Students, to find out which faculties each of the candidates are in and to ensure “honesty between them.” All for the effort to ensure that some allegations won’t be repeated.
The status of two councillors elected last Spring, Steven Rosenshein and David Kogut, are still being contested. Councillors-elect must be studying in the faculty which they aim to represent on council.
According to the CEO, he understands how people could feel unsettled about “what happened last year,” but has taken the appropriate measures to make sure that nothing like that happens again. Although he added that the allegation of electoral fraud were “absurd.”
“I’ve had ample time to put polling clerks, counters and all staff through a screening process that consists of a little questionnaire,” he said.
Voters will be presented with two teams each fielding three candidates, who hope to win a seat on the CSU Council. Although the candidates run as affiliates with certain common goals, each must be elected individually.
The CEO hopes that voter turnout this week will top last year’s 8,000 plus voters, a Concordia record according to Druker. He said he will ensure high voter turnout by “placing polling stations in high traffic areas on both campuses.”
Uniting Students (US), represented by Engineering and Computer Science student Louay Jasser along with Arts and Science students Beisan Zubi and Dan McSharry, stand for “fixing [Concordia’s] flawed elections system” as well as “continuing to make Concordia one of the most environmentally conscious campuses in Canada,” among others matters.
Zubi said she is not aligned with either UNITY or the current opposition slate, Go!Concordia. She said she would like to bring a “centre” party to campus politics.
Their opponents, United For a Better Concordia, comprises of Arts and Science students Bryan Soloway, Elie Chivi and ENCS student Alex Brovkin who want “a sustainable student union and university” in addition to “defending the rights of international students,” along with other issues.
Because he had run for council as part of the UNITY slate last Spring, Chivi said he is still a supporter of the slate.
Chivi, current president of the Concordia International Students Association, believes that the current council should be concentrating more on students rather than on allegations of electoral fraud against councillors Rosenshein and Kogut.
“If I was a part of the CSU council, I would pay more attention to student life and student problems rather than petty politics,” he said.
The motion to eject UNITY councillors Rosenshein and Kogut, by upholding a Judicial Board (JB) decision last spring, was tabled in October by Go!Concordia councillor Matthew Forget. It was never addressed by council chair Sarah Rodier in the October meeting, and was put off for another month in the November meeting when UNITY councillor Colin Goldfinch motioned to have the case reviewed by council in December.
Referendum Question Number 4
The fourth question on the referendum ballot for this week’s by-election is stated exactly as follows: In accordance with the By-laws published on the Concordia Student Union’s website (www.csu.qc.ca) and available for consultation at the voting both, Do you agree to some minor by-law changes that have been approved and recommended by the CSU Council of Representatives, the governing legislative body of the CSU, to make the CSU more accountable and transparent to it’s members?
The fourth referendum question was motioned at a CSU council meeting on October 10 and made public on November 5.
CSU Council candidate and official ‘no’ opposition to the fourth question on the referendum ballot, Beisan Zubi, says that the question is “misleading” because “you don’t know what the changes are – how transparent and accountable is that?”
The by-laws mentioned in the question were only made available to the public last Friday according to Zubi and McSharry, which Zubi says “is far too late.” The 13-page document is now available online at the CSU’s website and will be available at the polling stations for reference.
I’m not taking a stance against whether or not [referendum question number 4] should pass or not,” said Zubi, “I’m taking a strong stance against the fact that [the CSU] hasn’t told anybody what it is.”
Chivi said he is not familiar with this issue at this point.