By Dale Miller
The largest Students’ Union election in recent memory should be over by now, but it isn’t.
Chief Returning Officer Shuvaloy Majumdar’s election report was delivered one day before deadline to an emergency Students’ Legislative Council meeting convened for that purpose on Sun., Mar. 14. Majumdar had 20 SU business days to report but was delayed by the size of the election candidate expenses submissions. The report addressed the less controversial logistical issues of the election, but did not elaborate on issues to come before the SU Review Board on Thu., Mar. 18.
"This is the single biggest election turnout in Students’ Union history," stated Majumdar. "I think that what we have done here on campus has set a national standard."
One of the major draws in the 2004 SU election was the U-Pass referendum where 6,058 students voiced their opinion. Additionally, 129 students from the traditionally absent Law Faculty cast ballots, adding to the 5,553 votes cast in the Student Legal Assistance referendum.
"Referendum questions–there were a number them in which they had an incredible number of people voting," said Majumdar. "It’s a direct democracy issue that impacts the lives of people on a day-to-day manner."
Majumdar’s view on the Gauntlet’s contribution to the election was improved from his view last year when he stated the Gauntlet’s candidate reviews were a "wet blanket that smothers the fire of democracy."
"I would like to congratulate the Gauntlet for getting out of the business of clearly endorsing candidates and starting to make the reforms required to represent the policies and platforms that they see from candidates," said Majumdar of this year’s election coverage. "I think that it is a very encouraging first step for the years ahead."
Also addressed were some of the innovations and improvements that he and his staff tried to implement for voting day strategy.
"We took a look at what happened in the past, thought of some innovative and new ideas, and found a way to incorporate that into the demands of the new and energized democratic voting base at the U of C," explained Majumdar.
One of those improvements was having the polling stations open for all days in all locations taking the guesswork and stress out of finding an open polling station. Majumdar also implemented the use of complaint forms as a record of any bylaw infractions during voting.
Question period after the report was brief, as many of the issues raised were taboo as they could be addressed by the Review Board. Vice-President Events-elect Alex Vyskocil’s interest in the software issues on the first day of voting was politely rebutted by Majumdar and SU President Jayna Gilchrist, citing the upcoming hear- ing on Thu., Mar. 18.
"The Review Board is not until Thursday," said Gilchrist. "I’m sure that Mr. Majumdar will be happy to come back next Tuesday."