Throughout last week, UPLB’s Central Electoral Body (CEB), the body responsible for supervising student elections, met to discuss the guidelines on how to proceed with this academic year’s University Student Council-College Student Council (USC-CSC) elections amid the remote learning setup.
CEB will make use of the 2021 Remote Election Guidelines, a modified version of the revised election guidelines crafted last 2019 by the UPLB student councils, college secretaries, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (OVCSA), Office of Student Activities (OSA), and the Perspective, when the general elections were expected to be normal. The modifications were made upon the February 12 consultation with the Council of Student Leaders (CSL), USC’s consultative arm, due to logistical concerns on proceeding with the elections, which normally had a number of on-ground activities on campus.
“May copy kami ng 2019 Election Guidelines, but a new one has to be crafted. Since the new election is remote, kailangan ng changes,” USC chairperson Jainno Bongon said. “Halos the same lang naman sa 2019 [Election Guidelines], but tinanggal ang physical provisions.”
“Physical provisions” refer to rules in the 2019 Election Guidelines concerning activities that students are permitted to do during the elections. It was mostly concerned with holding the Miting De Avance, filing of Certificates of Candidacy (COCs), establishing polling precincts, and posting of campaign streamers and posters.
On the 2019 Election Guidelines, a print-out copy of COCs can only be filed to the Office of the College Secretary (OCS) of students’ respective colleges. This was revised in the remote election guidelines so students may now be able to submit their COCs through the OCS’s email.
Rules on setting up physical campaign posters, holding of foot parades, and voting precincts around the campus were also omitted from the guidelines, since the election will be done remotely. However, the Miting de Avance will proceed on online platforms such as Zoom and Google Meet as it is live streamed on student councils’ Facebook pages.
How will students vote?
Most of the voting will be done online. Under the remote election setup, UP Halalan, the system used by CEB for student elections, will send single-use voting credentials to online voters through their official UP email address. Students will then be able to access the link for the online ballot in UP Halalan’s page, input their credentials, and vote for the university’s next student leaders. Those who do not have the UP email yet will receive their credentials through the email address specified on their student records.
UP Halalan will be responsible for identifying offline learners with access to stable data signal, so that the CEB through the OVCSA may provide load assistance for them to be able to vote.
To give more students a chance to vote, the CEB decided to set the election period from 9 AM of March 16 to 4 PM of March 19, instead of the usual two days allotted for the USC-CSC elections. Students will be able to cast their vote at any time as long as it is within the dedicated period for online voting.
The system is different for offline voters. Offline voting is mostly reserved for students who do not have gadget access and have intermittent signals. After UP Halalan identifies these students, they will also be provided load assistance to cast their votes through call or text to official, publicized mobile numbers. Votes will then be listed and verified by personnel authorized by the CEB.
CEB approved the final schedule through a referendum on February 21.
Individuals interested in filing for candidacy may do so in this link (bit.ly/CEBForms). [P]
Photo by Kristine Paula Bautista