ASI dual rules duel

Jason Okamoto

ASI elections are right around the corner and students will soon choose the next group of our peers to represent us. Leading up to that, ASI officials have struggled to tweak the election process to make it fairer for just anyone to run for office.

First, there was a buzz about online elections, and more recently two conflicting proposals in the way candidates can campaign. The only thing resulting from all their efforts is half-baked plans that might make it easier for them to be reelected, but creates a huge mess that the forthcoming administration will have to clean up.

ASI first proposed online voting last semester as a way to increase voter turnout. Backers touted the plan as a way to draw more voters through convenience. The truth is that it would have been a disaster. If students can’t be involved while on campus, why would they vote at home? This would create a gap in personal communication between the government and the student body, making it easier to ignore or forget about the candidates when they are in office. Also, voting at polling centers can be monitored to deter cheating.

Supporters of the plan say that tying online ballot access to, say, student’s SacLink numbers will keep people from voting more than once. That idea doesn’t sit well with ASI Executive Vice President Luke Wood. He worries that campus officials would have access to, and might even manipulate, any voting data run through a campus server.

Can someone say “conspiracy”?

Time and money have derailed the idea, but it’s not dead. Look for the proposal to pop up again soon.

Another item that sits in legislative purgatory is a motion to change the election code to allow the president and vice president to run on one ticket, just like the national election. Current rules mandate that all officers are voted on separately. The ticket proposal hit a snag during last Wednesday’s ASI board meeting when questions arose about whether the legislation would violate other provisions of election rules.

Seeing that other colleges do it, the plan will most likely pass in the future.

But having the president and vice president on one ticket conflicts with yet another reform proposal brought up last week to mandate campaign fliers, posters and handbills carry only one name per item.

Sponsors of the measure say that the current system encourages candidates to join slates, then pool their campaign funds to get around spending limits and increase their exposure.

Last year, one handbill put out by a slate carried the names and photos of nearly a dozen candidates for various offices. Confusion reined during last Wednesday’s meeting, as board members struggled to define what “one name on a promotional item” meant. After plenty of debate, they concluded it would most likely be name of the candidate to the exclusion of any other person running for office.

However, if any candidate wanted to give a shout out to their Uncle Bob on their flier, then they would have the freedom to do so.

But why not just keep slate advertising? If you’re going to be a part of a team then you might as well be seen together.

Limiting one name per item promotes egotism and may cause some to forget that once in office, he or she will be working with other students. If a slate can’t represent a kind of cohesiveness amongst themselves, then what does that say about their ability to cooperate with students who don’t share similar views? Besides, it is more convenient for us students who don’t want to carry around a stack of ASI flyers like baseball trading cards.

Expect election posters to start popping up on Monday, March 31. This means that most candidates will be ready to put their signs out Sunday, just before the clock strikes midnight.

So here are few reforms to campus campaigns that I’d like to see:The bylaws should force campaigning to take place during the middle of the day when everyone is at school. The candidates should lug in their own materials, while assistance can only be received from random passers by. Of course, students would have the option of sticking their noses up at the candidate’s requests or pretend not to hear their cries for help.

The rules should also give all candidates a time limit in which they have to staple posters and erect signs. A solid twenty minutes to decorate the entire campus should get a good sweat going.

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