By: Elliot Fung
If you are a full-time undergraduate student enrolled in at least 18 units, you are eligible to vote in this year’s McMaster Students Union presidential election. Here is some more information about the election and how you can successfully cast your ballot.
The president is the primary spokesperson for the MSU and serves as the representative for McMaster students to the university, Hamilton and the provincial and federal government.
The next MSU president will hold the position for a one-year term beginning on May 1, 2019 and ending on April 30, 2020.
The MSU president is also the chair of the board of directors of the Student Representative Assembly, which is comprised of the vice president (Finance), vice president (Administration) and vice president (Education).
This year’s election has four candidates: Madison Wesley, Jeffrey Campana, Josh Marando and Justin Lee. More information about their platforms can be found here.
The voting system will be “single transferable vote.” What this means is that, on your ballot, you will get to rank candidates in order of preference.
In particular, you will have the opportunity to rank your preference of candidate from one to four. However, you do not have to rank all candidates.
Your vote will count towards the candidate you rank first.
The candidate with a majority of total first choice votes will be the president-elect. If a majority is not achieved through the initial counting, the candidate with the least number of first-choice votes is eliminated.
However, if you voted for the eliminated candidate, your ballot still counts. Your vote will be transferred to your second-choice candidate. Votes are then recounted.
If a majority is still not achieved, the process of vote transfer is repeated until a candidate has a majority of first choice votes.
Should a candidate be disqualified or withdraw from the election after polling takes place, your vote will still count too as long as you indicated a second-choice candidate.
In this case, your vote would be transferred to your second-choice candidate.
Voting opens on Jan. 22 and closes on Jan. 24 at 5 p.m. Ballots are being sent out via email, so check your McMaster email as soon as you get the chance!
You can also vote at www.msumcmaster.ca/vote. Log in using your Mac ID and an election link will appear if you are eligible to vote.
Justin Lee’s platform highlights 13 points, but almost all of them lack specificity and the ability to effect unique and meaningful change on campus.
Several of Lee’s initiatives do not specify how they differ from current McMaster Students Union projects, including his plan to improve the MSU’s social media presence.
Similarly, free menstrual products are already offered without charge by the Student Health Education Centre, the Student Wellness Centre, and the Women and Gender Equity Network. Lee’s plan to add these products to single use and female washrooms extend this service, but the logistics and costs of stocking the washrooms must be worked out.
Other points, such as strengthening student involvement in campus events and providing “life skills” programs to students, are vague. The proposal to provide fundraising training services for all MSU clubs in order to make them fiscally independent lacks context as to why it is necessary to improving student life or how it will affect MSU spending.
Where Lee’s ideas are novel, they lack feasibility and do not appear to be supported by consultations with relevant groups.
For instance, Lee does not appear to have consulted software developers, the Hamilton Street Railway or the MSU regarding his proposed “Uber for Buses” project.
There is also the obvious question regarding how such a project would be feasible and affect non-student HSR users.
Another project that Lee aspires to implement is an after-hours takeout service on campus. However, this project once again lacks detail as to how it will be implemented.
Lee’s platform, which primarily includes small projects, could also be more ambitious and comprehensive.
Points such as the addition of a second ClubsFest do not seem likely to make a noteworthy improvement to student life.
It is also worth noting that the day after the 2019 MSU presidentials campaign period kicked off, Lee still did not have an accessible official Instagram or Facebook page.
This lack of transparency about Lee’s platform appears to weaken Lee’s credibility.
Overall, there are significant gaps in Lee’s platform when it comes to addressing more prominent student concerns and ensuring that larger initiatives are both original and feasible.
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