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Author Topic: A Commentary on The National Senate Election Byelaw  (Read 499 times)

Offline Viteu

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A Commentary on The National Senate Election Byelaw
« on: August 04, 2021, 10:01:46 AM »
I began to write this as a summary but went off on a tangent.  I think it's topical for us to discuss. So here it is. 
I invite @Eðo Grischun to comment on my thoughts.   

The most controversial law we have tends to be the Senate National Election Byelaw.  The law's intent stemmed from a concern that non-active citizens were representing Vuode in the Senate, and getting that seat through "pocket votes" without any real activity here or concern for those in the province.  The law was enacted to ensure the Senator was active, available to the people, and chosen by Vuodians. Prior to that, for many terms, the seat was held by a party that did not represent the active members of the province, or seem to have any sustained interest in Talossan life outside of maintaining citizenship to vote for their friends who were active. 

The law is quite simple:

(1) a prospective senator must openly declare their intention to sit as a candidate ten days prior to the end of the last Cosa preceding an election; (2) all votes are public in Vuode's sub-forum; (3) the E-X retains authority to appoint a new Senator within 10 days of vacancy, and if it fails to do so, the premier may do so; and if after 5 days fails to do so, the Crown gets to do so.  This has been criticized by many outside of Vuode. 

From what I know, Eðo does not hate the law but thinks it can be tweaked because there are obvious holes in the law (e.g. an early dissolution of the Cosa).  We debated an amendment, which I think we should revisit, that would address the situation of no candidate declaring their intent to run within the requisite period or a snap election.  But I think, for the most part, we like the law because it really keeps our Senators close to home. It requires them to be at least partially active to national politics, etc.  At least I do.

On the issue of the time window to declare a seat, allow me to offer a different perspective: Vuode's Senate seat will be up for election with the 58th Cosa.  We control our election by way of the Claiming Our Autonomy Byelaw.  According to the National Senate Election Byelaw, a "prospective Senator must openly declare their intention to sit as a candidate for Senate no later than ten (10) days prior to the end of the last Cosâ preceding an election." The idea behind this law was that only people who pay attention to Vuode and elections would represent Vuode--as opposed to the old system where party votes and write-in candidates for non-active citizens meant more than campaigning.  There was a long period when our Senator never posted to Vuode and won by pocket votes.  So we have this. 

This problem, however, has been identified: What happens in a snap election? There is occasional debate to tweak the law appropriately. The failure to enact clarifying language stems from inactivity or forgetfulness, not outright disagreement. On the other hand, it occurs to me that the wording of the statute is a bit more expansive than we thought. We've been operating under a notion that the prospective Senator waits till the last Clark preceding an election, but that's not what the wording says, and it largely has been tactical.  The law says, "no later than 10 days prior to the end of the last Cosa preceding an election."  Given that this is about the Senate, I read it as "no later than 10 days prior to the last Cosa preceding an election involving a Vuode senate seat."  So the earliest a person could declare is literally day one of the last Cosa preceding an election (Clark 1, Day 1 to be exact), and this lasts up to 10 days prior to the last Clark.  I do think there's been some evidence of a candidate waiting until the last possible day to declare their intent to run, so as to not remind others, and secure a seat by default. But, really, all of this is public info and even that tactic serves the law's purpose--to ensure that people are paying attention and our Senators pay attention. So in practice, on Clark 1, Day 1 of the 57th Cosa, Eðo and any other eligible Vuodian may declare their intention to sit as a candidate for the Vuode seat.  Another boon for this is that the electorate can ask questions directly and note when nonresponses are given. The requirement for voting on Witt had more to do with ensuring that active people came on and voted as well as preventing the SOS from applying national law in counting votes. 

Thoughts? Should we proceed with revisiting the amendments? I’m not opposed to a provision in the event of a snap election when no senator has declared, like a special “10-day grace period from the writ of dissolution” but only if we have no candidates.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2021, 08:51:33 PM by Viteu »
Viteu Marcianüs
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Offline Eðo Grischun

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Re: A Commentary on The National Senate Election Byelaw
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2021, 04:21:28 PM »
I'll come back to this.  Just posting to let you know I've read the post.
The Rt. Hon. Senator Éovart Grischun S.H.

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Senator of Vuode

Offline Viteu

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Re: A Commentary on The National Senate Election Byelaw
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2021, 08:54:50 PM »
I'll come back to this.  Just posting to let you know I've read the post.

Ugh, typos galore. I made some minor edits.
Viteu Marcianüs
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