Not Enough Students Are Running in the 2018-2019 A.S. Elections to Fill All the Positions

Only 12 people will be running for the 14 all-campus, elected positions on A.S. Council this election cycle, the candidate filing list for the 2018 election indicates. With three candidates vying for the five campus-wide senator positions, one candidate competing for the two off-campus senator spots, and no one running for transfer senator, there will automatically be four vacancies at the termination of the A.S. elections.

This year’s slate list also differs from past A.S. elections because there is only one slate — EMPOWER — fielding candidates, whereas in the last several election cycles there have been two competing slates and independent candidates. Due to the absence of a second slate, the candidates for vice president external, campus-wide senator, off-campus senator, engineering senator, arts and humanities senator, and social sciences senator will be running unopposed.

Two candidates are running as independents, one for president and one for vice president of campus affairs.

All candidates running for A.S. Council and the college councils gathered in Price Center last night for a mandatory meeting to review the campaign rules and pose for headshots.

After the meeting, EMPOWER candidate for president Kiara Gomez addressed the disparity between A.S. candidates and available positions to the UCSD Guardian.

“People have been having a lot of issues as far as A.S. resignations goes,” Gomez stated, referencing the resignations of eight current members. “My slate was really strategic in picking people who were going to stay. That’s why we don’t have a full slate.”

Independent presidential candidate Kevin Bologne also commented on the lack of candidates.

“That’s a disaster,” Bologne told the Guardian. “I think we need a lot more people running.”

Gomez noted that the fact that many of her slate’s candidates are running unopposed will not cause her slate to approach campaigning with less effort than if they were competing against a second slate.

“If one of us is opposed, it’s like all of us are opposed,” Gomez stated. “I think if we’re running on a platform that we’re trying to reach A.S. visibility and student engagement, if we slack off now in elections, what will that say about how we do our term?”

Addressing last year’s voter turnout rate of 18.74 percent, A.S. Elections Manager Michelle Nguyen explained to the Guardian that increasing turnout is a priority for her.

“We definitely are aware of voter turnout in general,” Nguyen said. “Just having high voter turnout is one of our main priorities. Currently, what we’re focused on is more about informing students of both the [transportation fee] referendum and the candidates in general.”

Gomez summarized her slate’s platform as “students helping students.”

“It’s about retaining not only student leaders, but making sure that you’re bringing up the communities you represent with you,” she added.

Bologne, on the other hand, is running mainly on the issue of fixing problems with Housing, Dining, and Hospitality.

“HDH is treating us like commodities,” Bologne stated, “They just want to extract money from us, and they don’t do much that benefits us, like how expensive the stuff is at the markets…”

Campaigning began as soon as the Price Center meeting adjourned at approximately 8:40 p.m.

Voting will occur April 9 through April 13, during week two of spring quarter. The full list of college and A.S. candidates can be viewed here.