Ranked ballots missing from 2024-25 UMSU election

Short time frame leading factor in keeping current system

A motion passed by the UMSU board of directors late last year called for the introduction of a ranked ballot system in union elections. This year’s election, however, did not see the change implemented.

After a controversy surrounding the previous UMSU election, there was a recommendation from former governance chair Ivan Nunez Gamez to consider alternative forms of voting.

Victoria Romero, a student-at-large who brought forth the motion, said the decision to keep the current system is “disappointing” as she thought that the change may help “rectify” lost trust, as Romero put it, in the electoral system from last year’s election.

UMSU board member for the Manitoba Law Students’ Association Nathan Dueck assumed the role of governance committee chairperson on Jan. 31 when former chair Michael Prokipchuk stepped away to run in the current election.

When Dueck assumed the role, he made the decision on Feb. 5 to keep the current system due to the short time frame to implement combined with the time it would take to inform U of M students.

“I made that decision as someone who supports the change,” he said.

Dueck said he is a proponent of the ranked ballot system and voted for electoral reform at governance committee, even as the governance committee recommended against a change in ballot structure. He said the governance committee considered the issue of electoral reform “at length” throughout fall 2023.

“If the motion had come 6 months earlier and if I was chair, I would have implemented it,” said Dueck.

Romero said the motion did not indicate an implementation timeframe. They thought stipulating a timeframe might mean the motion would not pass. After it did pass, Romero expected some kind of change, or expression of “sentiment” about when the process would change.

“It definitely does leave a bad taste in the mouths of voters,” Romero said.

During the Dec. 14 board meeting, Prokipchuk said the election planning was already underway, and that implementation would “create confusion.”

As a lack of education was the main concern for the new system, Romero said that she had expected there to be an education campaign about the current voting system, but that this “still remains to be seen.”

Dueck said once the decision was made to keep the current system, he could have been more publicly clear about the decision that he delayed the implementation. He said that he wanted a ranked ballot system to be implemented “properly.”

Romero hopes that the lack of implementation for this election does not lead to the issue being neglected in the next academic year. They would like to see a “rough plan” for implementing ranked ballots in the future.