Online ballot open for Fall 2015 election.
This week, the ASUCD fall quarter elections ballot opened for voting. All current UC Davis undergraduate students are eligible to cast their vote online under a choice voting method in which voters can rank any number of candidates in order of preference.
This quarter’s election boasts 16 candidates competing to become our next senators, campaigning on a variety of student-interest platforms to win one of six coveted spots on the senate table.
Over the past few years, ASUCD elections have experienced painfully low voting numbers, resulting in a relatively unrepresentative association. Last fall quarter’s election saw a 10.4 percent voter turnout. The following winter’s election was even worse; only 792 students voted, or approximately 2.85 percent of the undergraduate student body.
According to the Elections Committee website, ASUCD elections exist to help students “serve their civic duty every quarter.” From our perspective, this statement manifests itself in two ways. First, elected officials take on the huge responsibility of serving students and using their voice on the table to better campus life. However, all UC Davis students also have a civic duty to participate in elections and to be informed voters.
ASUCD reaches far beyond student government. In addition to overseeing and budgeting 26 individual units, including the CoHo and Unitrans, senators have access to a unique network of connections that allows them to utilize non-ASUCD resources to make change. Not only do elected senators discuss issues affecting our campus on a weekly basis, but their voting rights also give them direct access to contribute to influential and often controversial campus decisions.
Regardless of whether or not you work in a student government position, the association will likely have some effect on your undergraduate career at UC Davis. So, while criticizing the actions of ASUCD officials is legitimate at times, we need to understand that all students play a crucial role in electing senators to their positions of power. We cannot expect to have a cohesive senate table representative of student needs with a low voter turnout.
A democratic voting process ensures that elected officials are actually representative of the student body. You deserve to have a say in deciding who represents you, as well as a responsibility to uphold the civic duty that comes along with being a UC Davis student. The Editorial Board encourages all students to take interest in choosing their representatives this quarter by reading up on the candidates and casting an informed vote, keeping in mind that the winning individuals will work on the table for an entire year.
Voting matters. Exercise your right today at elections.ucdavis.edu. The voting ballot will remain open until Nov. 12.