Student Votes Are Key to Effective A.S. Council

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As students, we are quick to complain about all the things that our campus is lacking, yet there always seems to be a lot of apathy when it comes to casting our votes in the elections. As students, it is not only our privilege, but also our responsibility to voice our opinions to the student government and make the campus a better place. In choosing not to do so, we are only doing a disservice to ourselves and the school as a whole.

The election process at any level of government requires voter interest and participation. Unfortunately, UCSD has had a ridiculously low voter turnout of 22 percent for the past few years, which floats just above the required minimum of 20 percent. Many students express their discontent when policy changes roll around but only have themselves to blame for choosing not to vote. Moreover, with such minimal student involvement, the few who actually do vote are not likely to accurately represent the student body. This makes it difficult for the student council to embody students’ diverse opinions and beliefs.

One of the underlying issues is that most students don’t actually take the time to think about how much of their money is going straight to A.S. coffers. The A.S. budget is composed entirely of student fees, with approximately 3 million dollars coming out of our pockets each year. Included in that figure is the salary of the A.S. president, who makes $10,000 per year and gets a privileged parking spot, but whose name is unfamiliar to the overwhelming majority of students. The fact that members of A.S. Council choose how to disseminate these funds should create an incentive to vote, since participating in the elections effectively allows us to choose the people whom we entrust with our student fees.

With their funding, resources and leadership, A.S. Council has a lot of potential to benefit students and improve the school. Our votes let the student government know what we want, whether it is cheaper buses or a better Sun God Festival, and in turn allow it to act on our behalf. We are the ones that are going to be affected by policy changes, so we should step forward and take advantage of the opportunity to have a say in them. Ultimately, A.S. Council has the students’ best interests in mind, but they can only address our needs if we provide them with input. If UCSD students continue to avoid elections, A.S. Council’s decisions will continue to reflect an extremely narrow demographic and set of beliefs. So go out and vote; it only takes five minutes on TritonLink.

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