Elections Board hopes to create competitive contested elections

Claire-Elise Baalke/Sun Star Reporter
November 6, 2012

There are only six candidates who have submitted petitions for this fall’s ASUAF election. The Elections Board runs the elections and works hard to uphold the rules and laws of the Elections manual and try to run the elections as effectively as possible by making changes things that need to be renewed and holding to that which need to be kept. Right now, their goal is to create a more competitive elections atmosphere.

The Elections Board is currently comprised of three members. ASUAF vice president Dillon Ball, senators Fred Brown and Michael Golub are serving on the board this semester and are currently looking for two more members. Anyone can become a member of the Elections Board as long as they are a UAF student. The board has a majority of five members. As chair of the board, Ball only votes to break ties.

These new members will help the board administrate elections by setting dates, advertising, setting up polling stations, making sure there are workers at the polls, counting ballots, coming up with the official results and then sending those results to the senate to be confirmed according to Ball

“If there is a dispute or challenge to election, it’s the board’s job to listen to the complaint and rule on what to do about it, whatever the issue is,” Brown said, in an email.

A recent complaint was filed Sunday, Oct. 28 about the date advertised for petitions being turned into the Sun Star, which was Oct. 26 online on the ASUAF website and was later seen to be Oct. 30 on the paper version of the petitions that can be found in the ASUAF office.

“I thought we made it very clear that petitions were due the 30th,” Ball said. Ball said the complaints were valid. The elections board concluded that the impact would not effect the elections by a 2-1 vote.

There are two major changes in the bylaws for the elections. The first is a reduction in the number of members of the senate from 20 to 14. This change will be in effect by next fall.

“By reducing senate seats it will be easier to have a competitive contested election where people would be running against each other and voters could actually choose who they wanted on the senate instead of whoever running winning by default,” Ball said.

The other change forms a pool system. Originally there were 10 seats and candidates could run for one specific seat, in the new system there are seven seats and everyone runs against each other and those seven that get the most votes win. This elections system isn’t new. It was changed a few years back and has finally been changed back to its original form, Brown said.

“In my opinion it’s less intimidating to someone who hasn’t been involved with ASUAF before, but may want to run. There’s a different feel when you’re in a group, running for a group of seats, as opposed to possibly picking a much more experienced ASUAF candidate to run against for a specific seat,” Brown said.

With a true election, Ball hopes campaigns will increase publicity and encouraging more of the student body to vote and get involved in the elections and maybe even run themselves. “I feel like when you earn something, in this case it would be through campaigning or contested elections, I feel like you respect something a lot more if you worked hard to get it,” Ball said.

Currently elections are set for Nov. 29 and Nov. 30.

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