why did we stop trusting the Elections Committee?

There seems to be a bit of a plague going around, infecting the different bloggers out there in our insular little world. This seems to be an infection of a lack of trust towards the Elections Committee. I for one fail to see why this is occurring, and I am disappointed in the reactions, which range from the mild and unsubstantiated:

“…the EA doesn’t seem trustworthy…” -Maria Jogova, UBC Insiders

to those bordering on libelous. It boggles the mind.

The thing that confuses me about this whole situation is that through to this point, there had been an immense level of confidence in the Elections Committee. They created a program that could handle three different voting systems, maintain voter secrecy, be hosted by the AMS, and navigated the University bureaucracy necessary to get it hooked up to CWL. They had a full committee that all did their jobs. They held more debates than I can remember ever happening before. They organized an election that had the highest turnout in years. They did it all in just over a month, having been hired extraordinarily late. Why are they suddenly biased or untrustworthy?

I’m not saying that the decision that they made was right. I don’t have the evidence that they have access to, and neither does anyone else out there in the blogosphere. I think Blake is a great guy, one who is incredibly dedicated to the AMS, and is/was going to make a good President. Plus, he’s been vocal in his opposition to the War on Fun, and supports ACF debt repayment. But this is not a trial – that process exists, and is being followed. What is not helpful is approaching this process in bad faith, and assuming some ulterior motive other than enforcing the rules as they see them is driving the actions of the Elections Committee.

People seem desperate to protect Blake, but this implies a massive lack of faith in our processes. If Blake is as innocent as everyone (except, mind you, the Elections Committee) seem to think, he will be vindicated through this process. If he is not, then the disqualification was justified.

The charge of bias is really the one that motivated me to write this post, as it pisses me off. There needs to be a distinction drawn between a decision having a favourable outcome for one candidate and a negative for another, and the decision being designed with that outcome in mind. I charge the people claiming bias to produce evidence that there was collusion with candidates, or find any actions during the election that would speak to a bias towards Alex. The two other notable judgment that I know about are regarding Cookiegate, which was dismissed because it was either unverifiable or completely made up, and a two day suspension of Iggy Rodruigez for improper campaign materials. The Iggy suspension is particularly telling –  if the Elections Committee was a right wing shill group, wouldn’t they have ruled in his favour out of hand? Instead, they imposed what I thought was actually a pretty severe penalty.

There appears to be a bit of contention over what constitutes a slate. This is exactly why we should not have slate rules, because these groups and affiliations exist, and it robs the voters of a valuable tool in making their choices. However, now that the slate rules exist, it is the Elections Committee that interprets them. If they have a sufficient body evidence to call something an apparent slate, it would be their call to do so. If Blake can convince the other committee that his actions did not constitute a slate, the ruling will be overturned.

Is this not exactly what should be happening? An impartial, arms length Elections Committee makes a ruling based on a body of evidence and their best interpretation of the rules, which can then be appealed to the Election Appeals Committee, where an impartial Justice of Student Court makes a ruling, and it can then once again be appealed to the Court itself. Is this anything less than our process playing itself out – a triumph of the rule of law? Everyone is going to have their voice heard and their rights protected.


4 Responses to “why did we stop trusting the Elections Committee?”

  1. 1 Maria
    February 8, 2009 at 11:57 am

    I didn’t say I personally believed that the EA wasn’t trustworthy- only that it was the perception that may be created, particularly if Blake wins a court case. It was mentioned in a long list of consequences that could result from whatever the decision/truth may be.

  2. 2 radicalbeer
    February 8, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    Fair enough. I apologize for the confusion, but it does seem to already be happening. Without the evidence, people have already passed judgment, which is what the appeals process is for.

  3. 3 Mike Thicke
    February 8, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    Matt, you and I have always agreed that the anti-slate rules are bad. This is one more count against them.

    On the accusations of bias, my perception is that the biggest substantial complaint is that the ruling was made so suddenly, without even talking to Blake. A more reasonable course of action would seem to be issuing a statement that the elections committee was “investigating a complaint” or something along those lines. Making this sudden and unexpected ruling, without much justification, gives the appearance of either incompetence or bias. I think people’s lack of confidence in this case is warranted, despite how well the EA has performed so far.

  4. February 8, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    …”impartial, arms length Elections Committee”… hahahahahahahahah what a joke – if they had acted impartially, maybe…

    ed: we appreciate value in posts on this blog, jerknuts

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