“ABSTAIN” WILL be removed as an option in the ballots in this year’s Arts and Letters Student Council (ABSC) elections despite other colleges retaining it in their polls, the chairperson of the AB Commission on Elections (Comelec) said.
AB Comelec Chairperson Ayla-Rhey Salapare said the Faculty will have to drop abstain because it is not enshrined in the ABSC Constitution.
“Ang may abstain lang sa ballot [ay] AMV, Nursing, and [Pharmacy]. ‘Yung constitutions nila [na] existing, naka-define kasi ‘yung abstain tapos nakasama talaga siya sa content of ballot […]‘Pag tiningnan niyo naman sa AB, wala talaga siyang [provision],” Salapare said.
“Ang meron lang talaga sa AB, qualification for candidates. Aside from that wala nang ibang provision, kaya fino-follow naming ‘yung USEC (UST Students’ Election Code). Kaya din kami parang sumunod sa pattern ng Central [Comelec] kasi wala siya sa Constitution natin,” she added.
“Abstain” was not mentioned in both the ABSC Constitution and the USEC of 2011.
During last year’s Central Student Council elections, the Central Comelec followed an order from the Central Judiciary Board to disregard “abstain” and proclaim candidates with highest votes next to it as winners. This was after questions on the poll body’s interpretation of “abstain” as rejection of candidates by Thomasians arose.
Despite the removal of abstain, students may still choose to leave their ballots unanswered, Salapare noted. A candidate needs to garner at least 25 percent of the total voting population to be proclaimed as winner.
“Even if ‘unanswered’ gains a higher percentage, if the candidate/s will garner 25 [percent], they will still be proclaimed as the winner,” the AB Comelec chair said.
Should “unanswered” gain 75 percent of the voting population, the Comelec will be forced to declare a failure of elections due to “low voter turnout,” she added.
In the case of a solo candidate in the position of auditor, Salapare, meanwhile, noted that the hopeful has to gain the simple majority vote or 50 percent plus one of the total electorate to win. F CRIS EUGENE T. GIANAN