Old Sock Drawer

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#105: Post-election musing

March 23rd, 2010 by Mary Leong

Currently listening to: “Telephone” – Lady GaGa

Now that AUS elections are done and over, perhaps it might finally be appropriate for me to comment briefly on it, and the assorted accompanying drama. But first, let me extend a warm congratulations to next year’s newly elected councillors and executive. With the introduction of a new team, I am excited and hopeful in seeing how things will pan out over the next year.

Firstly, the $60 000 allocated to elections. In early March, I voted in favour of giving this money to the Elections Committee and UBC Votes team. This year’s turnout of nearly twice that of last year’s election (700-ish this year, vs. 300-ish last year) total voters can be attributed to the efforts made to raise the profile of elections through the harmonized elections events held throughout the week. From free food (!) to the Said the Whale concert to an epic dance party at the Museum of Anthropology, the UBC Votes team definitely did a stellar job at trying to raise awareness that student elections were ongoing.

However, that being said, even with these efforts, Arts failed to meet quorum (10% of students or 1000, whichever happens to be less) and Science’s election turnout was dismal as well (300-ish online votes if I heard right?). Why this unshakable voter apathy? At which point did students start to decide it was alright not to pick people to represent their interests and decide how to put their student fees to good – or well, better – use? Or more pertinently – at which point did students start to believe that it was alright to leave the voting to others, and follow up by grousing about how the AUS is ineffective and irrelevant to their lives? Far from defending the actions of the AUS with regards to what we’ve done – or rather, what we haven’t done – this year, I simply wonder what would have been different this past year if voter turnout had been higher for the 2009/2010 elections. In fact, I wonder that a lot about student government this year: if voter turnout had been higher and more properly representative of the student body at large, what would have been different?

Then, an election with multiple uncontested races; yet, the races which were contested ended up being ridiculously close- possibly the closest in any AUS race ever. The tiebreaker vote cast by Elections Administrator Matthew Naylor for the presidential race gave Brian Platt a one-vote victory over Ryan Trasolini. Doubtlessly a harrowing race for all parties involved, I am pleased, very much so – very much gratified at the direction this could take the AUS in the next year, and look forward to seeing how things pan out this upcoming year.

The race which I was running in, that for the position of AUS VP External, was also relatively close, with a 30-40 vote margin between myself and 2010/2011 VPX-elect, Carolee Changfoot (congratulations, dearie!) I had an incredibly fun time campaigning for it – my lovely photographer, campaign team, and all friends and supporters who’ve been a beacon of light and joy over the past weeks, thank you so much for the hugs and endless puns involving the word “rock”. My favourite might just be “demrockracy”. SO much win. As I mentioned in my message out, I’ve got some shenanigans up my sleeve so watch for those, and Tea Talks and Treats will resume once I bake more stuff.

This entry is getting to be quite lengthy: I shall follow up tomorrow/later tonight with a rather extensive post on the value of joke candidacies, so watch for that.


P.S. Valentina, I finally caught a glimpse of you at yesterday’s AUS meeting! Hello there!

Tags:   · 5 Comments

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Eastwood Mar 23, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Rock on!

    Are you AUS election results posted online anywhere?

  • 2 Valentina Mar 23, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    And I saw you at the Eurofest!

    Sorry you didn’t win but I hope that you’ll still try to represent Arts students (we really do need that!)

  • 3 Justin Mar 24, 2010 at 8:36 am

    Just as a note, this 2010 SUS Spring Election had a much lower, anomalous turnout than had been the case for the past few elections. The highest election turnouts have occurred under the auspices of Jimmy Yan, Vice-President Internal in the past few years and have been generally accepted as successes. No one is quite sure why SUS voters didn’t mobilize this time around.

  • 4 Mary Leong Mar 25, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    @Eastwood: They can be found on the UBC Votes website!

    @Valentina: I will definitely continue to be involved in the AUS! Keep an eye out for our upcoming events (:

    @Justin: Yeah, I realized that the SUS turnout was bizarrely low. Just a comment pointing out the abnormality of it.

  • 5 Eastwood Mar 26, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Ah. I was too early, again :P