October 6, 2005

CFS rules more important than USSU rules at U of Sask... remove the right of certain students to vote

CFS in order to make sure that students had to be supervised by their full-time paid staff overruled U of Sask’s Students’ Union rules on voting. Basically, the CFS needs to make sure that they get the $170,000 dollars a year they are looking for from U of Sask students. Especially since they have spent thousands if not over ten thousand dollars in attempting to secure this money to add to their budget of over $10 million dollars. The following is from the Sheaf:

Can you imagine if, for the next federal election, the government announced people in the army and navy, those people working out in the bush or people traveling overseas couldn’t vote simply for the fact they weren’t able to get to a voting booth?
“Fuck you all,”� the Ben Kingsley look-alike we call our Elections Commissioner would say.
“You have a job taking you away from the voting booth? It’s your own damn fault for being so responsible. Maybe you’ll be able to vote next time around.”�
To bring it down to reality, a portion of U of S students were unable to mark an ‘X’ anywhere on the ballot during the recent Canadian Federation of Students referendum. These students, who pay tuition and pay their USSU fees but happen to study on a U of S campus in another city or intern outside of Saskatoon, were barred from participating in the referendum that, depending on the results (not available at press time), could lead to an increase in their student fees.
The reason for their exclusion?
Paper ballots, which replaced the online voting system the USSU has used for every election and referendum for years. But couldn’t those off-campus students mail in their ballots? What a stupid question. Of course not. That would be playing right into the hands of those dastardly supporters of a fair election process.
The body chosen to look after the fairness of the recent referendum; “to ensure a clean campaign,”� as they say “is the Referendum Oversight Committee, consisting of two USSU members and two CFS members. Their reasoning for the decision to ban offcampus students from voting came out of the CFS constitution. The ROC said because the CFS constitution doesn’t recognize online ballots, paper is the way to go. Poring over the same constitution, one would have trouble finding the section that states CFS recognizes paper ballots and not electronic ones. There is no mention of either voting method. The rubber-stamp called the ROC appears to have bent over for nearly every CFS demand, whether it be campaigning in classrooms or the uncertainy around campaign spending limits; “both which have clearly defined rules in USSU campaign policy. There looks to be no compromise on any point of contention over referendum rules. The decision on online voting, made by laws that do not appear to exist, is odd. I suggest students defecate in either the left or right corner of the voting booth, depending on whether they are voting yes or no to membership in CFS, as another voting method. There is no mention of feces being an acceptable or unacceptable way of voting, much like paper. Perhaps a bit of shit will prompt those people running future referendums to explicitly make their preference of voting system into law.
The last presidential election in the States was marred by allegations of elections violations because the electronic voting system wasn’t as safe as paper ballots. But there are no Yes or No supporters who own U of S computer terminals.
There are no shady Yes or No elections officials who will take the computers in for “maintenance.” In fact, the USSU has felt so confident in online voting that they haven’t changed the system for years. There are several colleges affected by the exclusion of off-campus voters. Councilors Mark Taylor (Pharmacy and Nutrition) and Gina Otte (Kinesiology) expressed their disappointment with the ROC’s decision at last week’s University Student Council meeting. The Colleges of Engineering and Education also have many students who are interning outside of Saskatoon and share similar concerns with their fellow councilors. It doesn’t matter if off-campus students make a difference in the referendum, either for the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ side. The problem is that two organizations; ”CFS and the USSU, both supporters of the democratic process” have tarnished the referendum results with their undemocratic decisions

Reading this makes clear why the CFS is opposed to allowing these students to vote. They are in faculties where students are less likely to be supporters of the CFS hence the CFS needs to protect their financial investment and will do anything to prevent these students from voting.