In response to past election problems, Students' Union Vice-President Operations and Finance Gavin Preston brought proposed election bylaws for first reading to Students' Legislative Council Tue., Dec. 2. Preston explained each time there is a problem with elections, the SU has only "patched it up with small amendments."
"It was reworked and rewritten to be preventative," said Preston. "But it's with full knowledge we might miss something and that's the point of the six [democratic] principles at the front of the document."
Preston said the changes were rewordings and adding definitions to the document. A major change deals with the powers of the Chief Returning Officer, however Preston empha-sizes there are checks and balances. In addition, Preston added a complaint form people could submit to the CRO. The CRO can also fine candidates and referendum or plebiscite campaign teams if needed.
"If an infraction happens and it doesn't materially affect the election... the CRO can maybe give out small fines, but [infractions] should be discouraged because it's against bylaws," explained Preston.
Also new is the Review Board meeting before voting starts.
"It's a check on penalties the CRO assessed," said Preston. "The Review Board will scrutinize the CRO and, with the new amendments, active members can send complaint forms to the review board chair. It acts as an appeal on the CRO."
The Review Board will also rule on questionable tactics or occurrences which the CRO brings to them.
One of the six democratic principles at the beginning of the proposed bylaws is secrecy of the ballot. To help that, Preston said all candidates and campaign groups have the responsibility to report infractions as they perceive them.
"Even if you did it yourself, you report on yourself," said Preston. "It explicitly says it's a duty."
Some student representatives were worried about the changes the document proposed, saying there wasn't enough time given to analyze the changes. Before the meeting, Preston made himself available to discuss the bylaws.
"It's a big thing, there's huge amounts of change and I'm worried people will not know what's in it," explained VP Events Richard Bergen at the meeting. "I would like to see a committee because it's so massive and we're getting a limited perspective."
VP Academic Demetrios Nico- laides was concerned this was a conflict of interest because council members currently voting on the bylaws could influence it in their favour if they decided to run in the next election. Nicolaides also had other concerns.
"[I'm concerned with] the removal of an extra nomination day for acclaimed races and the power and nature of the CRO office," he explained.
Events Commissioner Jennifer Smith wanted to change one section specifically when asked during question period about the election bylaws.
"I hope many other amendments are made, such as [striking] the preamble," said Smith.
The bylaws passed first reading with 11 in favour, 10 opposed.
Students are invited to meet with Preston to discuss the bylaws at 6 p.m. Thu., Dec. 4 and Fri., Dec. 5 in Ariel in the SU Conference Centre. Copies of the proposed and existing bylaws are available at www.su.ucalgary.ca.
Preston announced the MacEwan Ballroom will not be renamed the Molson Ballroom during the SLC meeting. The brewery will still pay for renovations but will instead treat the funds as a donation. The SU will still give them preferential treatment.
Gilchrist brought a resolution to council to remove SU CRO Shuvaloy Majumdar from office. Gilchrist said the debate would be in camera because it was a human resources matter. After a lengthy debate, the president withdrew her resolution.