The idea of the election

Heather Bryant / Sun Star Editor-in-Chief
April 24, 2012

This Springfest season, ASUAF is ignoring the opportunity to give students a choice.

There are eight people running for the senate. Of those eight, four senators are running for re-election. All candidates are running unopposed.

From farmer’s unions to multinational corporations, county governments to national leaders, the election process is the basis for choosing the people who will decide how to make the system function.

Elected officials are the choice of voters who cast ballots in good faith that their best interests are going to be represented.

The essence of the election process is choice. If there is nothing to make a choice about and no candidates to choose between, then the process of an election is reduced to merely the appearance of a democracy.

Besides voting for an incumbent candidate or a write-in, students will have the option to vote on a number of questions. This section includes questions about use of the filtered water fountains, icy sidewalks and senator service awards. There are also a number of opinion questions about how well ASUAF performs in different areas.

Voters will voice whether or not they think there should be an ASUAF advisor and whether or not the senate size should be reduced. 

However, an actual referendum for students to vote on whether ASUAF should have an advisor will not be on the ballot. ASUAF did not accept a petition with 360 student signatures because the elections board said the petition question was not formatted correctly. The senate voted down a subsequent bill to put the referendum on the ballot.

The senate also failed other legislation for students to vote on reducing the senate size.

Now, only opinion questions about both topics will appear on the ballot.

There are no referendums. Beyond voting for senators, this election represents little more than a simple opinion survey.

I hope that ASUAF will gather sufficient responses that creates meaningful data that the senate can use in decision-making.

This election has the alarming possibility of being an illusion.

It’s the status quo masquerading as choice.

But I’m still going to vote and you should too. It’s an essential part of being a citizen, whether it’s in a community as small as UAF or as large as the United States.’

Voting is how you show ASUAF that you are engaged and interested in what they are doing on your behalf and with your money.

To not vote is just another way to surrender control over your life.

There are six seats that are empty and up for grabs. If a student is interested in becoming a senator in ASUAF, it would require little effort to gather sufficient votes.

If this appeals to you, and you are interested in truly serving the students, then I urge you to conduct a write-in campaign.

We need an energetic and dedicated senate with new members to bring in fresh ideas.

If you are unhappy with the way you are being represented or you think you have ideas that would benefit the students, run for one of these vacant seats.

You have the opportunity to make this election a choice.

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