The posters are plastered all over Davis, the Facebook pages have infiltrated our social media feeds, and the halls are swarming with campaigners. What time of year is it? It must be election season!
This is my fourth time seeing elections happen at UTM. It’s taken me four years to figure out what all of these unions, directors, councils, and committees “lobby”, “fight”, and “advocate” for, and even now I am not entirely sure. I wrote a post last year with a breakdown of the different kinds of elections that happen at UTM, but this time, I want to point out a few tips and tricks I have picked up over the years about surviving UTM elections when you’re not running for anything.
- Definitely have a glance through the Facebook pages of each group—all of the platforms of the slates and independents running for UTMSU and the individuals running for their board of directors. Often, they are all talking about the same things.
- If you want to avoid campaigners in the hallways, walk outside.
- If you don’t mind interacting with campaigners, don’t be rude, ask them why you should vote for them, and actually listen for an answer. What difference will it make in your life to vote for that individual? Does it sound like fluff? Ask as many questions as you’d like. They are there to respond to you, and should care about their voters enough to gather quality votes.
- You don’t have to vote if you don’t want to—if anyone pressures you with the excuse that you have to vote, they are lying. The more votes, the more fair an election is the thought process behind this mentality. But if you wish, you can abstain.
- You can vote for candidates from different slates! The individuals with the majority vote win, so it is possible that next year’s team will have been elected from different slates.
- Two years ago, a candidate asked me if I had voted yet. I said yes, and they demanded to scan my TCard to see if I was lying. If something like this happens to you, do not hand over your TCard! Show your appreciation for this person by walking away, or not voting for them if you actually haven’t voted yet.
- Wear an “I voted” button or sticker after you vote. Last year, these were supplied to voters.
- Just because you don’t like a slate or have pledged your support to another slate or another individual, don’t put down the others. Annoying as many campaigners may be, they are working hard for something they believe in (hopefully).
- These are not the only elections that take place at UTM: there is also the Governing Council (which has already happened), the Campus Council, the Campus Affairs Committee, boards of directors for other large organizations on campus, and executive councils for each club and group on campus. Keep an eye and ear out for any other elections you’d like to be involved in, either as a candidate or a voter!
- If you’re going to vote, don’t make this a popularity contest. Vote for someone whose campaign you believe in, not just because you are their friend.
Honestly, I have not seen much of a change on campus over the last few years, regardless of who has been elected. It does not seem to matter who is elected, just that we have groups that are dedicated to maintaining resources, services, and attending meetings with the administration.
My best advice is not to get your mind in a knot over these elections at UTM; just make conscious voting decisions.