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ASUA to hold special elections in October

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Student government will be holding special elections to replace a student senator who resigned early in the summer.

The Associated Students of the University of Arizona will release election packets this Tuesday for potential candidates. The ASUA Senate voted 8-1 on Wednesday making this the fifth ASUA special election in 20 years.

Former Sen. Tate Arnold resigned from the Senate June 12 citing personal reasons.

“I was really bummed to see Tate resign,” said ASUA President Morgan Abraham. “He didn’t really explain anything to me and I didn’t really ask. It’s not really my place to. If I receive a resignation letter, that’s all I really need.”

Arnold was unavailable for comment as of Wednesday night.

Sen. Elena Gold, who cast the dissenting vote at Wednesday night’s ASUA Senate meeting, did not comment during the meeting and said she discussed her objection with senators prior to the meeting. Candidates’ election packets will be due Sept. 16.

“These [due] dates are quickly approaching,” Gold said. “With freshmen being here for a week I think it’s just really soon to rush into it.”

According the ASUA Constitution and ASUA Bylaws a special election is required to fill a vacancy in the Senate if the position is vacated before Nov. 1. Neither the constitution nor bylaws include a time frame for the special election to be held.

Abraham said he has already started receiving messages via Facebook and email from students interested in the open position and he doesn’t think finding candidates will be an issue. He said he hopes to have more candidates apply for the position this year than last year, when he was elected in a special election.

“We’re really going to be using some of the things we’ve developed over the summer,” Abraham said, “in the form of social media, YouTube, stuff like that, and try to reach out to more students and let them know more about what the senate does.”

ASUA held special elections last year which fielded eight candidates, including Abraham who won that election. Voter turnout was in the single-digit percentage with 2,090 ballots cast. Abraham said he plans on a higher turnout for this election.

“I don’t see why we can’t break that,” Abraham said. “I really want to have more candidates than we had in the previous election and I want to have a higher voter turnout than we had in the previous election.”

Abraham said he likes having a large number of candidates because it shows interest in student government, but voter turnout for the Oct. 1 election is what he is most concerned with.

Marc Small, the elections commissioner for ASUA said he plans to reach out to areas on campus that aren’t normally active in student government.

“I’m trying to reach out to every area I know that doesn’t usually get the representation,” Small said.

The date approved for election results is Oct. 2. The Senate is expected to confirm those results at its Oct. 9 meeting.

Two of Arnold’s goals focused on on-campus eateries. Arnold wanted to introduce new ways of ordering and paying for food on campus, according to his information page on the ASUA elections website. His other two platforms revolved around getting more students interested in ASUA.

Abraham said he hopes to see the next senator’s priorities fall in line with the part of Arnold’s platform that focuses on student involvement.

“The person I’ll be voting for is the person I think will best represent the voice of the students or the voice that I want in the senate,” Abraham said, “not necessarily the person who has a cool idea that may or may not pan out.”

-Follow Josh Nothnagle @josh_is_on

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