04
Feb
09

on scandals

You cannot beat Lougheedgate. Do not even try, candidates from this year. We here at the RBT give ‘cookiegate’ a: 92% on fabrication, 12% on journalistic integrity, 77% on blogification, 21% on student participatory engagement, 84% jam ratio and 100% on not an issue. That which is a real issue, however, is how out of date the AMS electoral code is. Why the word “polling station” still exists, when modern polling stations are ubiquitous, is beyond this editorial team.

Also, vote for us tomorrow. We’re pretty cool, and the surplus we generate will go to beer. A better cause than the coffers of the other VFM editors.

From the Elections Committee:

On Sunday evening, a campaigning irregularity complaint was submitted to the Elections Committee. The complaint stated that VP Academic candidate Johannes Rebane and friends were in Vanier commons block and going door to door asking students to vote on their laptop, and giving cookies to students. The committee was made aware of this from another candidate, who provided contact information for two apparent witnesses that reported this action to the candidate.

The committee followed up by discussing the allegations with the candidate in question, who denied partaking in such activities, and provided credible accounts of where he was at the times the infraction was alleged to occur. To follow up, the committee contacted the eyewitnesses. The eyewitnesses provided their accounts of what occurred at Vanier commons block.
It is the committee’s decision that at this time there is very little evidence supporting the claim that Johannes engaged in such behaviour. As well, there are highly conflicting narratives of what actually occurred, questionable biases, and extremely vague descriptions of the time frames. Specifically, the allegations that they went door to door are unfounded due to the lack of wireless internet access in the residence buildings. In addition, upon contacting a number of different authorities at Vanier, there are no accounts of anyone working witnessing such activities. The residence associations at the residence buildings across campus have been very active in ensuring campaigning follows strict rules within their jurisdiction, and thus the committee trusts that they would have been aware if such actions had taken place.

Signed,
Elections Committee

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3 Responses to “on scandals”


  1. 1 Spencer
    February 4, 2009 at 4:51 am

    As an FYI this kind of situation is exactly why Code chose to define a polling station so a personal laptop would be covered.

  2. 2 radicalbeer
    February 4, 2009 at 10:53 am

    Thing is, personal laptops are everywhere now, as are smartphones and other polling stations.

    The spirit of the rule is to prohibit coercion. Why not make it explicit through something like:
    “No candidate or agent thereof shall coerce an elector to vote in a particular way”

    In terms of cookiegate… maybe it’s ok that candidates are offering electors valued goods as an incentive to vote, provided they don’t force those electors to vote a certain way. The value of those goods fall under their campaign expenses, so there’s the check on that.

  3. 3 Spencer
    February 4, 2009 at 11:42 am

    I should note that I don’t really care if it’s changed, but just to give some history so the impression isn’t created that we didn’t think about these things. I’d rather be wrong than accused of not being thoughtful 😉

    2003 was when the code regarding electronic voting was created and at the time laptops were ubiquitous. As ubiquitous as now? Maybe not but certainly substantial enough that it can’t be claimed there was a fundamental change in how students could access polling. UBC’s wireless network was fully operational at the time and we gave very specific thought to this issue. Were smartphones ubiquitous (God, I love that word)? Nope. And maybe the language can be tightened up to clarify that the voting website needs to be open for it to be a polling station.

    The spirit of the rule was not to prohibit coercion exclusively but also a) to prohibit inducements at the polling booth and b) to protect the individual’s right to a secret ballot. It was felt that a) bribery where the briber could observe the fruits of their labours was a bad thing, and b) protecting a person from being in the awkward position of having to say they don’t want to vote with the candidate standing there was a meaningful tradeoff.

    Anyway, that’s the 4-1-1.


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