ASUCD elections are known for having low turnouts. Last year, there wasn’t concern that students did not want to fund Unitrans with a fee increase – just that under 20 percent (the minimum to enact a fee increase) of the student body would vote.
This is disappointing. We pay $41 per quarter, but turnout rarely breaks 15 percent. Undergraduates, this is your money. Not only are you choosing who will work for your money, as senators earn $49 per week, but also how your money will be spent.
Many counter such claims with apathy; 80 percent of the budget is fixed for Unitrans, Cal Aggie Camp, and the Educational Opportunity Program. However, this leaves $8 per student per quarter that goes into the ASUCD General Fund. This is the money that your senators can influence the allocation of. Twenty percent may not seem like a lot, but this is over $2 million per year.
Nearly every senator in recent memory has mentioned outreach as something they think student government should improve upon. While this is true, it’s only fair for you to meet them halfway.
Some argue that voting takes too long. This is absurd. You can vote from any computer connected to the Internet in under one minute at elections.ucdavis.edu.
Time learning about your senators is time well spent. Stop by the ASUCD Coffee House (notice who runs it?) between noon and 1 p.m. to see a debate between the executive candidates and about The Green Initiative Fund. In the interest of full disclosure, this debate is sponsored by The California Aggie and the ASUCD Elections Committee. If you’re busy, check out this space on Tuesday – we’ll be running full endorsements for senate, executive and the fee referendum.
This quarter is particularly important to make your voice heard: The Green Initiative Fund, a $4 per quarter per undergraduate fee is up for voting. This fee, which must gain a 60 percent yes vote with at least 20 percent turnout, would continue for 10 years. You should have a say on a fee referendum that will affect undergraduates for the next decade.
Unlike their voter turnout, ASUCD elections are not a joke. Take them seriously and take the time to vote.