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September 10, 2007 | by  | in News |
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Nominations open for Election

Returning Officer appointed in the nick of time

Applications for the VUWSA General Election opened last Friday, during one of the most rushed election periods VUWSA has seen in years.

The Returning Officer, Andrea Reeves, was appointed on August 31, on the final possible day according to the executive’s interpretation of the Constitution.

The VUWSA Constitution states that the Returning Officer must be appointed 21 office days before polling opens. The exec used their interpretative powers to interpret the clause as ‘days’, rather than ‘office days’, meaning the time between the Returning Officer’s appointment and the opening of polling could be lessened.

However, former VUWSA Treasurer Graeme Edgeler has since pointed out the exec’s power to change the length of time, rather than interpreting the Constitution a different way.

In a comment on the Salient website, Edgeler wrote: “‘office days’ cannot possibly mean ‘days’. If only someone on the exec had looked at the subsection immediately following the power of constitutional interpretation, this idiocy could have been avoided – it’s the power to abridge (or enlarge) times or dates.”

Part IX section 1(5) of the Constitution proscribes that the exec could have changed the number of days between the appointment of the Returning Officer and the election, rather than interpreting ‘office days’ as ‘days’.

Treasurer Alexander Neilson responded to Edgeler’s comments, saying it could be done either way, but that it was simpler to interpret it as ‘21 days’ than ’14 office days’.

Salient understands VUWSA received four applications for the position before applications closed. The job was advertised during the mid-semester break following an urgent exec meeting to reset the election date from its original tentative date of September 14-20.

Candidate nominations opened last Thursday and close at 4:30pm this Wednesday. Nomination forms are available at VUWSA offices.

Voting takes place September 21-27, and votes can be cast either in polling booths at any campus or online, via the email link sent to student email addresses.

Thirteen positions are available on the VUWSA exec, including President, Education and Welfare Vice Presidents, Treasurer, Environmental, International, Queer Rights and Women’s Rights Officers, as well as five General Exec positions. Student reps for Publications Committee and University Council will also be elected.

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About the Author ()

With her take-no-prisoners, kick-ass attitude, former News Editor Laura McQuillan adequately makes up for her lack of stature. Roaming the corridors (and underground tunnels) of the University by day, and hunting vampires and Nazi war criminals by night, McQuillan will stop at nothing to bring you the freshest news.

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