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The Race Begins; The Annual CSA General Elections

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

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Written by Caroline Elworthy

Winter has finally settled in upon Guelph, layering campus in a snowy blanket of frost; however the Central Student Association is already thinking ahead, planning for next fall with the arrival of the Annual  General Elections.

The Central Students Association is eternally committed to giving the student body of Guelph a chance to exercise their voice--making their opinions and needs known and met. Currently, the CSA is gearing up for the annual CSA Election, a voting period set for Febuaray 4-6, for students to elect or re-elect the five Executive Committee positions, as well as, the General Board of Directors for each respective College.

The time line goes as follows; January 20 is when the nomination forms are due for each candidate running for a position on either the Board of Directors or Executive Committee. In order to run for a position, each candidate must get a certain amount of signatures from the student body. After these nominations are turned in, the candidates will campaign from January 28 to February 3, with a Candidates Forum occurring in the UC on February 3.

There are 14 General Board of Director positions- part time, volunteer positions that consists of two representations from each college on at the University. These positions directly affect what direction the union will take as the Board of Directors votes for various campaigns that the CSA will pursue.

The five Executive positions are full time, paid positions at the Central Student Association, and act as various liaisons between the general student body and administration- working for the students of Guelph to provide a campus with all the services it needs.

The Excutive positions are open to any undergraduate student. This year, the candidates running for the various five roles consist of Peter Miller, Scarlett Raczycki , Asia Barclay, Joshua Muscat , Matthew Campbell , Lauren Zalewski , Tawny Allison, Sonia Chwalek  and Dylan Brenneman

The CSA is committed to providing an equal playing ground for all the candidates running, and so this past Sunday the candidates were invited to gather in the CSA’s boardroom to prepare campaign material, use the CSA’s printing services and ask any questions as the campaigning period is set to officially being this Wednesday, January 28.

Candidates were seen busily making buttons, preparing posters and PowerPoint presentations to give in class talks.

Connor Doherty is the Chief Electoral Officer in charge of making the Election and Campaigning period as accessible and fair as possible.

The two main rules that we try emphasize for a fair campaigning period and election is to have a fair playing field for all candidates and to reinforce and educate our candidates on the anti-oppression guidelines which the CSA implements, says Doherty.

We also make sure that there is absolutely no use of slate candidacy within this election, meaning that no two candidates can run on the understanding of a personal agreement which may sway voters, says Doherty.

The campaigning period starts Wednesday, January 28 and will prompt a mad rush of candidate’s vying for students votes through various types of social media, classroom talks, tabling techniques and individual conversations.

Doherty is also concerned with the voter turn-out in last year’s election and will be focusing attention to encouraging voting to the student body this upcoming election

Ballots are typically delivered to students through their Gryphmail in an attempt to increase voter turnout make it easier for the student voter who might not have time to physically make it to the voting station. Last year, a several polling stations were set up in the University Centre, equipped with ipads for students to sign into their Gryphmail to vote in an attempt to push voter turnout.

Last year, the voter participation was 4053 votes cast of 19584 undergraduate students for a turnout of 20.7%.

“We’re definitely going to push voting stations this year, and look into implementing physical voting stations for students in place like the UC and the Bullring” says Doherty.

The all candidates forum on Feburary 3 will take place in the University Centre, and will open the floor for candidates to respond to student inquiries as well as prepared questions from Doherty, the Chief Electoral Officer.

The CSA Elections have a direct impact on the kind of Guelph will be shaped next year. Executive Members have direct power to create or change the type of campaigns that the CSA runs and the amount of pressure that is placed on administration to give students that kind of services they need. It is much the CSA’s responsibility to provide an accessible, functional student union for us as it is our responsibility as undergraduate student to participate within our Union and  voice our opinions and needs. Take charge of your education- attend the Candidates Forum on February 3 to hear each candidate’s platform and make an informed decision on voting day. 

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