AMS exec hopefuls dash to finish line

University District

Executive candidates for Team HPR take a dip in Lake Ontario as the AMS campaign wraps up.
Executive candidates for Team HPR take a dip in Lake Ontario as the AMS campaign wraps up.

On the final day of campaigning for this year’s AMS elections, the executive teams were up to some crazy antics, including jumping in Lake Ontario and enlisting a bear to endorse their campaign.

Members of Team HPR waded into the lake at 1 p.m. yesterday from the beach at the foot of Lower Albert, something they had promised to do if they received 2,000 responses to a student-input survey on their website. The team took the plunge despite receiving only 900 surveys back.

VP (Operations) candidate Jennifer Raffoul waded waist-deep in the lake and was the last member of her team to leave the water after around 20 seconds.

“It might have been the worst experience of my life,” she said of her dip.

Raffoul said that regardless of the outcome, she has enjoyed running for AMS executive.

Presidential candidate Bill Howe said he was optimistic about his team’s chances of winning, adding that he enjoyed meeting many students during the campaign.

“Almost everyone will talk to you,” he said. “There is a sense of community [on campus] ... [students] are willing to stop and talk.”

During the day, Teams HML and MBT both had booths set up in Mackintosh-Corry Hall. They used their campaign colours in balloons and posters to draw the attention of students. Campaign volunteers at Team MBT’s booth outside Leonard Hall Cafeteria were joined by a bear-suited individual wearing a lime green cape to catch students going in for lunch.

James Macmillan, presidential candidate for MBT, said he felt good about his team’s campaign and their chances in the election going into the final day.

“It’s in the hands of the students now,” he said. “I’m proud of what we did.”

Naomi Lutes, VP (University Affairs) candidate for Team HML, said that she felt confident in her team’s chances of winning, but didn’t want to make a prediction.

“I don’t want to jinx myself,” she said. “I don’t want to call it either way.”

Mark MacGregor, VP (Operations) candidate for Team HML, said he has enjoyed the experience of campaigning.

“I think it’s a great first big campaign experience,” he said. “I think people really responded to our platform.”

Jonathan Taylor, VP (University Affairs) candidate for Team SHT, said his team wasn’t doing any campaigning as a team on Monday but was looking forward to seeing the election result.

“I’m sort of excited,” he said. “We are going to see what happens with the democratic process.”

Taylor added although his team didn’t run a high-profile campaign, he feels his team still has a chance of winning.

“I would say that a lot of people don’t necessarily know who we are, as we didn’t do as many class talks—that will surely hurt us,” he said. “But people who are disenfranchised, who aren’t looking for the slick candidates, will vote for us. If we make it through the first round, it’s all up in the air.”

Sarah Cressatti, AMS chief returning officer, said there have been relatively few complaints made to the elections team, and the complaints made early in the election were due to teams becoming accustomed to the rules.

“I would say it went really well,” she said, referring to the relatively small number of election policy violations this year.

Three decisions were made by Cressatti, against both Teams MBT and HML regarding campaigning during nomination period, which is in violation of policy.

The most significant violation of elections policy was made by Team MBT and stemmed from their website, which used copyrighted code from backstreetboys.com. The website was created by their campaign manager, Louis Plamondon. According to the official ruling by Chief Electoral Officer Michael Urban, a fine of $25 was levied against Team MBT because of the professional code used provided an unfair advantage for the team.

Last night, Urban ruled on a complaint brought against Team HML, for using unbooked table space outside Leonard Cafeteria. A fine of $15 was levied against Team HML for not receiving Cressatti’s permission to use the space.

The final ruling of the night was made against Team HML. Team MBT alleged members of Team HML were interfering with their campaign by displaying signs next to the Team MBT booth. The elections team investigation found the individuals were campaign members for Team HML, but had not been directed by the team to “undertake this confrontation” with Team MBT, Urban said.

Urban fined Team HML $10 for the materials used to create the signs.

Despite the allegations, Urban said he has been pleased with the conduct during the campaign.

“The infractions we have had to date are minimal [and] on their effect on the electorate,” he said.

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