Following the announcement of new polling dates for the Arts and Science Federation of Associations’ elections, a special council meeting was called March 1 to ratify the change and discuss outstanding issues.
Elections have now been officially reset for March 5, 6 and 7. These dates conflict with article 136 of ASFA’s bylaws which state that polling dates are not supposed to overlap with Concordia Student Union elections, but due to extenuating circumstances, the executive chose to proceed anyway.
VP finance Laura Gomez reported that ASFA’s election was $2,000 over budget due to the unforeseen postponement of polling, which had originally been set for Feb. 15 to 17. ASFA President Alex Gordon explained that people who worked on polling days still have to be paid, despite the ballots being voided.
At its most recent meeting, ASFA’s financial committee decided that the $2,000 would come from their winter student fee levy.
“The expenses we’ll have are mainly the re-printing of ballots, the renting of computers and having to pay polling clerks twice,” said Gomez.
She explained that during the first round of polling, ASFA spent about $5,000. Gomez noted that this time there will only be one computer per polling station to reduce costs as opposed to the two that they had before.
Presidential candidate and councillor Charlie Brenchley questioned the executive during the special meeting about the establishment of polling stations in the Communications and Journalism building at Loyola.
Deputy electoral officer Anthony Garoufalis responded by asking, “Where is the CJ building?”
Gordon explained that although it was recommended by the 2010-2011 CEO Nick Cuillerier, it was “too late at this moment in time to set up a station there.”
There were also members who expressed reservations about candidates running in both ASFA and CSU elections. ASFA candidates are usually not allowed to campaign during the federation’s polling period, but this year it will overlap with the CSU campaign period, putting some hopefuls at a disadvantage compared to others. Candidates such as Brenchley, who is vying for a CSU council seat, would have had more exposure than those who are only running in the ASFA elections.
Gordon stated that there was no reliable way to track whether candidates were talking about ASFA elections while campaigning for the CSU, but he agreed some restrictions should be put in place.
“We can’t control CSU, but we can control what ASFA candidates do,” he said.
Brenchley motioned to restrict all candidates running in both elections to only put up their ASFA posters for the duration of the ASFA polling period.
VP internal Schubert Laforest offered an amendment to the motion that all ASFA candidates’ posters would be displayed at each of the polling stations in order to provide equal opportunity. The motion was approved by council.
Presidential candidate Caroline Bourboniere called the move a “blessing in disguise” and is hopeful that displaying all posters will encourage students to vote.