Candidates Vie for Positions in ASUC Senate

Photo: Candidates in the ASUC general elections campaign across campus, trying to earn student votes. In total, 81 students are competing for 20 senate positions.
Victoria Chow, Chris Chung, Anne Marie Schuler and Anna Vignet/Photo
Candidates in the ASUC general elections campaign across campus, trying to earn student votes. In total, 81 students are competing for 20 senate positions.

Slideshow »

ASUC Campaign Season
Photos from around campus

Related Articles »

  • Printer Friendly Printer Friendly
  • Comments Comments (0)

On the day before the start of the ASUC general elections, Student Action senate candidate Serge Sarkissian stood in front of Sather Gate waiting to meet student voters coming out of class.

"It's really mean here. A lot of people get turned off quickly," Sarkissian said. "I just try to get as personal as I can without invading their space."

Sarkissian is only one of 81 senatorial candidates. Like many of the others, he spent up to 10 hours a day trying to gather the approximately 400 votes necessary to win a seat.

"I'm going to be dead by the end of this week-it's grueling," he said, before striking up a walking conversation with freshman Adriana Canpoy, one of the 125 to 150 students he speaks to daily.

Canpoy said she has already spoken with four candidates this week, but she tries to stay patient.

"At first it's overwhelming," she said. "I try to be sympathetic, because they are standing out here all day."

The ASUC senate campaign is unique from the executive races. The 20 top runners in this week's election will win a seat, making campaigning for the senate more about self-advertising than direct competition.

Most senatorial candidates say their campaigns revolve around networking among friends and on Facebook, in addition to the traditional canvassing that colors ASUC elections.

"Having my close friends believe in me helps," said CalSERVE candidate Eunice Kwon, whose friends volunteer as sign-holders.

Students can rank up to 20 senatorial candidates on their ballots, with votes weighted proportionally according to preference. Elections are being held today through Thursday.

Sometimes the competition for relative advantage leads to accusations of unfairness. Student Action Senator Meghana Dhar brought a complaint to the ASUC Elections Council, claiming CalSERVE candidate Kortney McBride's assigned ballot number, 69, gives her an edge.

"I know it seems humorous, but the intent is serious," Dhar said. "The risk of even one voter choosing to vote McBride for senate for her number instead of any other reasons makes it a categorically unfair numerical assignment."

The council rejected Dhar's request that the number be changed.

Another problem brought up with the elections council was chalking. Elections Council Chair Emily Liedblad said although she was approached by campus and city officials asking her to implement a zero tolerance policy on chalking, many candidates continued the tradition of writing their campaign messages on sidewalks.

"I originally told the candidates that they should refrain from chalking, but it's not a violation of any elections bylaw," Liedblad said. "There's pretty much very little the Elections Council can do."

Some said they agreed that chalking was not the best campaign strategy.

"It's an inefficient use of manpower and it's not environmentally friendly," Kwon said.

Others took more innovative measures to ensure a profile in a loaded field.

SQUELCH! candidates congregated around Sather Gate for the party's campaign stunts, including the annual vibrator race on Monday. Last week, they set up a recycling bin for students to dispense of other parties' campaign fliers.

CalSERVE candidates McBride and Tracy Nguyen took ballot nicknames "So Fly" and "Hella Fly" respectively, while independent candidate Chris "Fro" Franco had supporters wear curly wigs and carry signs outlining his platform.

Independent candidate Matthew White held a sign with a bare-chested photo of himself, which he says conveys his "fitness" for office.

"I love that feeling, people smiling and commenting on my sign," he said. "It's a lot more fun than following people to class."

Christina Berke of The Daily Californian contributed to this report.


Zach E.J. Williams covers student government. Contact him at [email protected]

Comments (0) »

Comment Policy
The Daily Cal encourages readers to voice their opinions respectfully in regards to both the readers and writers of The Daily Californian. Comments are not pre-moderated, but may be removed if deemed to be in violation of this policy. Comments should remain on topic, concerning the article or blog post to which they are connected. Brevity is encouraged. Posting under a pseudonym is discouraged, but permitted. Click here to read the full comment policy.
White space
Left Arrow
Image Senate votes against spending reform bill
When Independent Senator Waseem Salahi and SQUELCH! Senator Rachel Horning...Read More»
Image ASUC Auxiliary to solicit potential vendors to fil...
While the formal lease for the third-party...Read More»
Image ASUC Arts and Creativity Fund could be removed due...
The future of the ASUC Arts and Creativity...Read More»
Image ASUC Senate approves Hedy Chen to serve on Store O...
Hedy Chen, a sophomore majoring in business admini...Read More»
Image ASUC Senate to consider bill proposing changes to ...
An ASUC Senate bill that would seek to amend the...Read More»
Image Student Action sweeps soundly
The Student Action party not only swept four of the executive offices, but ...Read More»
Right Arrow

Job Postings

White Space