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Elections off to a muddy start

The elections for the executive of the Alma Mater Society (AMS), UBC’s student council, shot out of the gate last…

By Jesse Ferreras , in Blogs UBC Outsider , on January 14, 2008

The elections for the executive of the Alma Mater Society (AMS), UBC’s student council, shot out of the gate last Friday with all the grace and poise of a first-year stumbling home from his first Pit Night.

The fur really flew at last Friday’s All-Candidates’ Meeting (ACM), usually meant to give budding student politicians a chance to learn the rules and meet their rival candidates. Starting at 5pm, it was a show for the spectacular unpreparedness of Brendan Piovesan, the AMS Elections Administrator.

Piovesan couldn’t even get the nomination deadline right – candidates’ forms said the deadline was 4pm, but the AMS website said 5pm. That means a number of electoral hopefuls didn’t even know when to declare their candidacy.

Piovesan nearly adjourned the meeting without even laying out the rules for the election or providing a list of candidates. Those present had to complain until they were blue in the mouth to get it from him. It was Sunday before campus media found out who was officially running in the election through an e-mail from Piovesan – not, as is customary, through the AMS itself, which to this day still does not have an official list of candidates on its website.

Campaigning starts today. Online voting starts Friday and goes until Tuesday. Paper balloting goes from 9am to 5pm on January 24th. Results to be announced at the Gallery that night.

That means there’s only four days allotted for campaigning before voting starts – a briefer period than there is to actually vote in the elections themselves. At this rate, we’ll be lucky if Piovesan gets anything right before the whole mess is over.

Update: As of Monday evening, the AMS has put up a list of candidates on its website, though there were no links to any of their platforms. So for now they’re just names, not faces, promises or substance.

Update: Christopher Eaton, UBC’s Academic Governance Officer, e-mailed me to say that Board of Governors and Senate nominations were handed in exactly when they were supposed to be, but he was not informed that the time of the ACM had been changed this year. Thus I have removed my point that candidacy forms should have been in to Piovesan an hour earlier. That criticism was not meant to be directed at Christopher Eaton or anyone at Enrolment Services, but at Piovesan and his incompetence at the start of the AMS elections this year.