Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A modest proposal

Here's an idea I have for reforming the UNA electoral system.  Tell me what you think. 

Electoral Reform: Revisions to UNA Voting Procedures.
Charles Menzies

The following amendments to the UNA voting procedures are recommend to ensure that the UNA election process is fair and above board.  The current practice allows for the unrestricted collection of ballots from the moment the UNA AGM package is released up to the time of the start of the AGM.  There are currently no controls over ballots (anyone can print their own) nor is there a system in place to ensure that a ballot does in fact represent the intention of the voter. As a municipal-like organization the UNA should endeavour to follow the prevalent standards of the province. 

The following procedures are adopted from the BC Local Government Act.  The recommended changes include: voting by secret ballot, the establishment of an official record of who has voted to ensure that each voter votes only once, and a provision for those who are disabled or absent during the voting period to submit a mail-in ballot.  Item 4.26 of the UNA BY-laws and constitution will likely require modification to accommodate the shift to a secret ballot system of voting.

The Standing Committee on Governance is asked to recommend to the board that the following suggested revisions to UNA Voting Procedures be presented to the UNA membership for public comment for a period of 45 days.  After which time the Standing Committee on Governance  (in its November meeting) will review resident input and make such revisions to the recommendation as may be deemed relevant. At this point the Standing Committee on Governance will make a final decision as to recommend to the board to adopt the revisions to the voting procedures or not. 

Revisions to UNA Voting Procedures.
A. Voting to be by secret ballot
(1) Voting at an election must be by secret ballot.
(2) Each person present at a place at which an elector exercises the right to vote, including persons present to vote, and each person present at the counting of the vote must preserve the secrecy of the ballot and, in particular, must not do any of the following:
(a) interfere with a person who is marking a ballot;
(b) attempt to discover how another person voted;
(c) communicate information regarding how another person voted or marked a ballot;
(d) induce a person, directly or indirectly, to show a ballot in a way that reveals how the person voted.
(3) The UNA must ensure that each voting place has at least one area that is arranged in such a manner that electors may mark their ballots screened from observation by others and without interference.

B. Voting Opportunities and Locations
(1) Two voting opportunities are to be provided:
(a) at the venue of the AGM on the day of the AGM from the regular opening hours of the UNA business office until the start of the AGM
(b) at the Old Barn Community Centre, at the Wesbrook Place Community Centre, and at the Offices of the UNA. This constitutes the advance voting opportunity.  This voting opportunity will be for five regular business days in the week immediately prior to the scheduled AGM.
(2) If an elector is unable, due to physical disability or infirmity or will be absent during the advance voting opportunity and the day of the AGM, a mail-in voting opportunity will be provided.

C. Each elector may vote only once
(1) A person must not vote more than once in the same election.
(2) For the purpose of ensuring compliance with subsection (1), a record must be maintained of all persons who receive ballots at the voting proceedings.

D. Mail-in Ballots
(1) The only electors who may vote by mail ballot are
(a) persons who have a physical disability, illness or injury that affects their ability to vote at another voting opportunity, and
(b) persons who expect to be absent from the UNA on general voting day and at the times of all advance voting opportunities.

Proposed Motion: 
Be it resoled that the Standing Committee on Governance request UNA members comment on the proposal for revising the UNA voting procedures via public notification on the UNA webpage, the weekly UNA emails, and the Campus Resident; that the period of public comment be 45 days, September 24 – Nov. 7, 2014, and; that the Standing Committee on Governance review community input during it’s regularly scheduled meeting in the month of November.

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