Chief Returning Officer
|Current CRO:||Camille Warner|
The Chief Returning Officer is largely in charge of the organization and supervision of Official Elections of the EUS. Additionally, the CRO generally is a reference for the Deputy Returning Officers (DROs), who are in charge of the organization and supervision of their departmental society's elections. This organization often consists of ensuring awareness of campaigning and election bylaws, encouraging voters to be informed and vote, and moderating anything inbetween.
Creation of the Electoral Calendar
Part of the job of the CRO is to plan the entire schedule for information periods, campaigning, and voting for the upcoming academic year. This constitutes the Electoral Calendar, and must be presented to the EUS Board of Governors for ratification (by simple majority) at the Board's second session of the Summer. The Electoral Calendar, if approved, is then made public in the week following. This is per Article 3.1.5 of the Electoral and Referendum Bylaws.
While the electoral calendar does not have to include the departmental election calendars, it is recommended that the CRO encourage all DROs to create and use their own electoral calendars, then share these with the CRO. This helps the CRO ensure that DROs are aware of their own time-sensitive bylaws, as well as to help the CRO check in on departmental election progress.
The CRO has a variety of responsibilities regarding referenda. First and foremost, the CRO should be aware of all McGill-imposed due dates for referendum questions. Most questions concerning EUS student fees collected by McGill are subject to this date sensitivity. In general, the EUS President should be aware of when these dates are, as they are critical to the planning of the electoral calendar.
As per usual, the CRO is also required to assist DROs in their referenda, should it be necessary. In many referenda cases, this involves helping DROs in the interpretation or understanding of their departmental bylaws, or in the navigation of the grey zone between EUS Bylaws and respective departmental bylaws.
Publicizing the referendum
The General Assembly of Fall 2017 resulted in a change to the organization of referendum forum for discussion. Previously, it was expected that the CRO arrange a debate between all Referendum Committees, however, in the event where all Referendum Committees support a Yes vote for their respective referendum question, a debate is not a productive format for distribution of information to the EUS. Therefore, Article 3.1.9 now reads:
|“||Elections EUS should organize a public forum for discussion between all referendum committees the format of which is to the discretion of the CRO.||”|
This public forum for discussion could take a variety of forms, combining digital and physical mediums. Publicly accessible online forms for submitting questions are generally a good way of providing an anonymous way for students to get to know more about the referendum questions, particularly if the questions are contentious. However, methods with more face-to-face interaction are preferred as they have the potential to give greater visibility to a larger group of students.
EUS Executive Committee
Often the most publicly visible election that the CRO will oversee is the EUS Executive Committee Elections in the winter semester. Bylaws related to the EUS Executive Committee Elections are primarily found in Article 6: Nominations and Article 10: Campaigning, although there are other relevant articles within the Electoral Bylaws.
Online Voting System
Organization of candidate debates for the EUS Executive Committee Election is one of the more labor-intensive aspects of the portfolio, as well as one of the most publicly visible. A smooth, well-run debate is beneficial to the candidates, the attendees, as well as EUS Elections. The smoother and quicker the elections run, the more likely it is that attendees will wait until the end. If debates run too long, or are too confusing or poorly moderated, attendees often become frustrated or [more] uncaring than usual, and are more likely to leave.
For the Winter 2018 EUS Executive Committee Election, the CRO opted to have a dedicated debate moderator to separate the responsibilities of managing the logistics of debate along with observation of debate rules. This proved to be a positive choice, as the moderator and CRO worked together to screen questions submitted through the online questions submission Google form. The moderator presented questions to candidates, timed candidate response periods, gave end-of-speaking-period warnings to candidates, etc. The CRO communicated to candidates throughout the debates, helped screen online submitted questions, coordinated delivery of food/drinks, coordinated clean-up, and ensured that other online communications were monitored.
It is also encouraged to have a livestream of debates for students who are interested in tuning in, but are unable to attend for whatever reason. If livestreaming is used, it is recommended to put a microphone as close as possible to the candidates, because otherwise you will need to have someone transcribing all questions/answers/follow-ups.
Some recommendations for future CROs regarding debates organization:
- Book the space out way the heck ahead of time. The EUS Common Room is the classic debate spot because we are allowed to have food, it has ample seating and electronic capabilities, and semi-decent wifi. If debates are held in a classroom, you cannot serve food in the room, and need to go through the event booking website.
- Ensure that vegetarian options are provided for with the food ordered. These are usually easy to accommodate with pizza, and gluten-free pizzas can also be ordered if necessary.
- Provide candidates with a detailed document indicating the format for debate, including, but not limited to: time limits, order of candidates, strike policy for instances of slander/time violations/etc., digital accommodations, etc.
- Arrange for long distance candidates ahead of time, ensure good connectivity for their choice of video calling.
- Ensure that any special time/debate accommodations made for candidates are
- incentive history - buttons/stickers - need to have better recruitment for tabling - inclusion of puppies? Puppy pats for voting - puppy cover photos - live updates of departmental voting rates (incentives to the highest voter turnout department)