New bylaw relaxes USC campaign regulations

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

A new University Students’ Council election bylaw will relax campaign regulations for presidential candidates.

Last year, campaigning was rigidly controlled by numerous specifications and regulations. Candidates were limited to a budget of $1,471 and any campaigning had to end at 12 a.m. the night before voting.

Candidates are now permitted to limited campaigning during the balloting period. Posters can be left up 48 hours after elections and any electronic campaigning can continue throughout.

“The overall point of the bylaw amendment package is to streamline the campaign by eliminating rules that are unnecessary and allowing us to focus on the ones that are necessary,” said Matt Fisher, USC chief returning co-ordinator.

Current USC President Fab Dolan said there were lots of ways to get around the rules; a candidate with a connection at a printing store could print a thousand flyers for a few dollars, and an e-mail sent at 11:59 p.m. the eve before voting would still be read in the morning.

Candidates were required to submit all their receipts to prove they stayed within the spending limit, but often they only presented half of them. According to Dolan, the rules weren’t fulfilling their purpose.

Demerit points were often handed out for insignificant issues. Competitors drew attention to rivals’ posters or e-mails that had been displayed only a few minutes after the deadline.

“We were being penalized for things that were not necessarily undemocratic,” Dolan said. “It created extra antagonism between the competitors.”

The new bylaw is intended to avoid these problems.

“It’s about controlling the elections and the reinforcement of our rules,” Dolan said.

Candidates must also do all printing at Imprint in the University Community Centre to ensure the accountability of the competitors’ receipts.

To ease the process of budgeting, submitting complaints and candidate communication, the USC has also implemented a new online election management system called ElectionsNet.

Share this article on:

Facebook | DiggDigg |

Copyright © 2008 The Gazette