OUSA president-elect challenges disqualification

10/09/2008

Otago University Students Association president-elect Jo Moore  is challenging her disqualification.

The grounds on which independent election arbitrator, Prof Paul Roth, of the Otago University Law Faculty, based the disqualification were:

He found Miss Moore had exceeded the $1000 spending limit imposed on presidential candidates – partly in respect of a party, during which beer had been provided and voting had taken place on a laptop computer.

The use of candidate-run polling stations, operated by a candidate personally or her associates, sometimes with “refreshments on offer” had “no place in a fair and impartial election process”, Prof Roth said.

Association election rules require candidates and their advertising materials to be 20m from any polling stations.

Given the proliferation of lap tops it would be virtually impossible to police that last rule.

There is a lesson to be learnt here for candidates in the general election though because rules about “treating” also apply to parliamentary elections. It’s okay to provide a cup of tea and a biscuit, but shouting an alcoholic drink at the pub comes under the category of treating and could cost a candidate her/his seat.

The promises of post-election treats with tax payers’ money comes under the umbrella of vote-buying policy and don’t count.


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