AMS executive all-candidates meeting sees minimal turnout & 'lack of engagement'

Tuesday's all candidates meeting saw a near empty room in Dunning Hall.
Tuesday's all candidates meeting saw a near empty room in Dunning Hall.

This story was last updated Jan. 10 at 3:41 p.m with a statement from the AMS executive

Traditionally, the AMS all-candidates meeting is where teams of three interested in running for student government executive gather to show their intent to run. However, this Tuesday’s meeting held in Dunning Hall saw only one candidate who remains unsure of her willingness to run, and no opposition.

For the past two years at least, the AMS executive all-candidates meeting has presented two three-person teams, resulting in a contested election. Student engagement with the election has remained stable at Queen’s over the last decade. In fact, since 2011, the University has maintained one of the highest voter turnouts among Ontario universities at 40 per cent.

Despite this, AMS Director of Communications Craig Draeger attended Tuesday’s meeting and commented that the meeting showed a “lack of engagement,” with student government.

This year, the candidate nomination period runs from Jan. 11 to 15. During the nomination period, candidates are required to gather 356 signatures from students to be put on the ballot.

According to the AMS’ Elections and Referenda Policy Manual “In the event that no team completes the nomination requirements on time, the nomination period shall be extended .... If no teams have come forward by that time, Assembly shall determine the process to be followed.”

The last time the AMS had a non-contested election was in 2015. Election by acclamation — where AMS Assembly rather than a student body vote of confidence — was used in the last three AMS elections where only one team has run — 1983, 1990 and 2015.

AMS policy has changed since then, stating “Should only one team fulfil nomination requirements … with no other team having come forward, a vote of confidence will be held at the set election date to determine if the team will be acclaimed.”

However, Tuesday’s meeting signaled potential for an uncontested race and uncertainty as to who, if anyone, would be nominated for the 2018-19 executive team.

The campaign period begins on Jan. 22 and runs until Jan. 28. On Jan. 25, executive teams will debate in Wallace Hall given that a candidacy is announced.

AMS executive remains hopeful for candidates to come forward

In an email to The Journal on Wednesday, the current AMS Executive said they remain hopeful candidates will eventually come forward.

“We are hopeful and expectant that well-qualified candidates will step forward for all the major elections taking place this month, including for Rector, AMS Executive, faculty society executives, and members of Assembly,” the team wrote.

“These are big responsibilities for any student to take on, and we recognize the tenacity that it takes to put oneself forward. We will continue to make ourselves available to anyone who wishes to know more about our jobs or what it's like to run for AMS Executive.”

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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