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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Elections Committee prepares for elections despite budget cuts

Funding for the Elections Committee (EC) during the 2013-14 budget period has been cut to $3,500 as opposed to the $6,000 budget from previous years. The EC is currently preparing for the November senatorial election.

ASUCD Budget Controller Eric Evans said that some of the money that previously went to the Elections Committee has been redirected to a new marketing department for ASUCD.

“Last year, the Elections Committee had a lot of money floating around,” Evans said. “Some of the previous marketing was not used efficiently.”

The EC was not the only ASUCD committee that had its funds cut this year. Those that did have funds cut agreed to defer their funding in order to finance the new marketing department.

Senate Bill 6, passed two weeks ago, allows the EC to decline placing sample ballots in The California Aggie should funding prove thin. Chair of Elections Eric Renslo commented on what the EC will be doing to advertise for the Fall 2013 elections even with the loss in funds.

“We are still going to run half-page ads in The Aggie,” Renslo said. “We don’t have enough money for a full page.”

Renslo also said that the committee is going to try to utilize polling stations and try to gain last-minute voters. Last year the committee was able to give out prizes, such as iPods and iPads, to people who voted.

“We have less money for prizes and even for t-shirts for our interns. It’s a lot tougher because of the lack of funding,” said Renslo.

Nick Dias, co-director of the new marketing department said that the department still aims to have raffles and prizes for voters, but on a smaller scale.

“We’ll still be doing a raffle at the poll stations,” Dias said. “We might have spin-the-wheel activities and we will be offering smaller raffle options. The prizes will be more immediate this way.”

During the Winter 2013 ASUCD elections, voter turnout was at 24.91 percent, the highest it has been since winter 2009. Renslo addressed what he thinks will help increase turnout for the Elections Committee this year.

“More candidates equal more votes because each candidate is working to increase voter turnout,” Renslo stated. “We’re also working with Creative Media to make advertisements targeted towards last-minute voters.”

Similarly, EC intern Helena Wong said she thinks voter turnout will increase if the they utilize all of ASUCD’s media sources.

“We need to help people get to know the candidate’s platforms so that there are no uninformed decisions,” Wong said.

Creative Media, the design and programming unit of ASUCD, now contains the new marketing department. Part of the advertising campaign that will be run by Creative Media and the marketing department for the elections committee will be to create an instructional piece for social media about the elections.

“This will give students an idea of where their funds go and it will bring awareness to ASUCD,” Dias said.

Dias said that the marketing department is also working to generate digital assistance for the Elections Committee. Last year their website was redesigned and this year it will be easier to vote online or from an iPod or iPad.

“It won’t be so hard and time-consuming to vote,” Dias said.

Evans said that Creative Media is already showing great results with advertising they have done in other areas and units, such as the Experimental College and KDVS.

“We are looking to the marketing department because they create great advertising that is as cost-effective as possible,” Evans said. “The marketing department will help grow the visibility of ASUCD on campus.”

Evans stated that he is especially supportive of the marketing department and Creative Media because of the similar, coherent design they put into the advertising for ASUCD units. Creative Media Director Alex Park said that the Elections Committee will also be advertised in a way to show that the elections and the candidates are part of ASUCD.

“We want to connect the units and the Elections Committee back to the ASUCD government,” Park said.

Renslo said that the goal for voter turnout this quarter is 15 to 20 percent. He hopes to keep up with the voter turnout of the past few years.

Park said that since this is the marketing department’s first time working with the Elections Committee, they will need to see what works in order to gain the most voter turnout and continue creating successful advertising for the Elections Committee in future elections.

“This is a starting point for us,” Park said.

Voting for the Fall Quarter senate elections happens on the seventh week of every Fall Quarter. This year, voting begins on Nov. 12 at 8:00 a.m. and ends on Nov. 15.


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