AMS may alter acclamation policy

Under changed policy, in event of one or no teams running for AMS executive, nomination period will be extended

From left: Catherine Wright, Kanivanan Chinniah and Kyle Beaudry, who were elected AMS executive by acclamation in January after no other teams were eligible to run against them.
From left: Catherine Wright, Kanivanan Chinniah and Kyle Beaudry, who were elected AMS executive by acclamation in January after no other teams were eligible to run against them.
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Team CBW became the third AMS executive team to be automatically acclaimed earlier this year, but if the Assembly passes changes to election policy, they may be the last.

The final AMS Assembly of the 2014-15 year, on April 2, will decide on proposed changes to the AMS Constitution and Policy regarding elections and referenda. There are several proposed changes — some minor and some major — that Assembly will discuss and vote on.

Claire Cathro, AMS commissioner of internal affairs, told The Journal via email that there are several proposed changes, including clearer definitions for elections and referenda terms; more thoroughly outlining the responsibilities of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Chief Returning Officer (CRO) and Deputy Returning Officers; different timelines for the elections and referendum period; reducing the number of signatures required to put a question or campaign on the ballot; new rules around where signatures can be collected; and procedures for what would happen if one or no teams run in an executive election.

Cathro, ArtSci ’15, added that the new policy will better outline the types of questions that can be placed on a referendum ballot and will also allow for the validation period of the winter referendum to occur in January rather than November.

Cathro said the changes weren’t simply responding to the controversy that surrounded the acclamation of the incoming AMS executive, Team CBW.

“Lack of guidelines around situations in which only one team puts forth their candidacy for an election was certainly something we sought to address,” she said.

Election by acclamation will officially be coded in policy if this motion passes, but only under certain circumstances.

Under the policy changes, if one or no teams come forward to run for executive during the nomination period, the AMS will issue a press release stating this and reopen nominations until noon on the day of Assembly. Assembly will have the discretion to decide if a team will be allowed on the ballot.

If only one team fulfills the requirements by the deadline, they’ll be acclaimed; if no teams fulfill the requirements, the nomination period will be extended to Thursday at noon, and if there continues to be no teams, Assembly will determine the process to be followed.

The changes also include clearer eligibility requirements for submitting plebiscite and non-fee related referendum questions, she said. Cathro said that the changes were proposed to address a number of gaps identified by herself, the CRO and the CEO.

“Some of our policy was outdated or simply unclear on a number of issues,” she said.

Cathro added that some of the changes will “substantially” alter the operations of AMS elections and referenda ­— while others will provide clarity on what is already covered in policy.

Some of these changes include reducing the amount of signatures required to get a question on a referendum ballot or to put forth a candidacy for an election from five per cent of the student body to around 150 students, and the timeline for collecting signatures would be reduced from 10 days to four.

The new policy also wouldn’t allow for nomination signatures to be collected in classrooms.

Cathro said that these changes to policy, if passed, will be beneficial for elections and referenda on campus.

“We have done a holistic overview of all AMS Elections and Referenda policy and believe the changes we are proposing will be positive for elections and referenda on campus and will allow the Elections Team to fulfill their mandate,” she said.

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