Between the Motions: AMS Council discusses election results after only 6.9 per cent voter turnout

AMS Council met last night to discuss the official results of last week’s AMS elections, UBC’s return to in-person classes and the creation of an AMS housing service.

Here’s what you might have missed.

The AMS’s virtual election, wrapped up

AMS Chief Electoral Officer Isabelle Ava-Pointon presented the official results of the 2021 AMS elections to council. Voter turnout was 6.9 per cent this year, a significant drop from 11.6 per cent last year.

Ava-Pointon speculated that the drop in voter turnout was due to the low number of students on campus.

This year was the first completely online AMS election. Council had previously voted to suspend in-person campaigning and reduce the number of signatures needed to be nominated.

Ava-Pointon also provided a list of recommendations for how to improve future elections including modernizing the AMS’s code for digital-campaign-specific regulations, keeping the lower signature limit for nominations and increasing hours and pay for the elections team.

AMS Elections and candidates also faced issues implementing online advertising with rules implemented on Facebook and Instagram to stop election misinformation.

“[Facebook’s formal verification] took a lot of time to do that and a lot of candidates couldn't get that done,” said Ava-Pointon adding that she had to send Facebook a photo of her passport so that AMS Elections could run ads.

Ava-Pointon also apologized for the minor ballot errors on the first day of voting.

Return to in-person instruction

Council also discussed the university’s planned return to in-person instruction in September 2021.

AMS VP Academic and University Affairs Georgia Yee said that her office was preparing a list of student concerns about the return to in-person instruction to present to UBC leadership.

“Some of those themes that we're hearing from students … [are] vaccination clinics on campus, as well as the expansion of the rapid testing program on campus,” said Yee.

“We're also going to be exploring different centralized mechanisms to support students and faculty who are not able to attend a class in person.”

AMS writes new housing service into code

Council also advanced the creation of a new AMS housing service, by writing it into AMS code. The service is intended to help students navigate housing in Vancouver, a city with some of the highest rental rates in Canada.

AMS Housing is anticipated to provide a database of available rentals, tenants rights advocacy and education for students and could potentially play a role in student co-op housing in the future.

The headline of this article has been updated to clarify that AMS Council cannot certify the election results.