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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Bad Timing: Truncated election schedule needs refining

    Students will head to the polls tomorrow to elect the next batch of officials for the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, but it’s likely that voters won’t know as much as they should about the candidates.

    The ASUA election officially kicked off Feb. 12, and it was starting to look like any other ASUA election – screaming, uniformed hordes of supporters passing out campaign literature, candidates eagerly looking to shake hands with unsuspecting passers-by and frenzied campaigning before the primary elections held Feb. 27-28.

    Now, with the general election looming large, candidates are buckling down for the pivotal last hours. Most of them looked exhausted when we conducted endorsement interviews over the weekend. And, according to ASUA elections commissioner David Martinez III, there’s a reason.

    In the past, the ASUA election schedule was less hurried; candidates were given two weeks to campaign before the primary election and then two weeks before the general election. This year, however, the schedule is abbreviated, with candidates afforded two weeks before the primary but only one week in between the primary and general elections.

    Martinez sees it as a matter of necessity. “”I decided to cut (the time before) the general election to one week to continue the momentum that primary elections bring and to increase the voter turnout,”” he told us. “”Besides, the two weeks before the general election was really drawn out. A lot of the campaigning didn’t happen until a day or two before the actual election, so a lot of the time was just wasted waiting and waiting and waiting.””

    As explained, Martinez’s goal is certainly worthy; turnout is traditionally abysmal for ASUA elections, and any attempt to increase the number of voters should be applauded.

    Nonetheless, the truncated schedule severs the amount of time voters have to educate themselves about the candidates. It’s not unreasonable to say that voters should be given more than one day to digest the presidential debate before they’re required to vote.

    Martinez frames the issue as a matter of “”momentum”” and hopes the energy of the primaries will spill over to the general election, but voter turnout should not trump voter education. The two don’t have to be at odds – any number of the successful “”meet the candidates”” programs this year could be used to fill a two-week span.

    ASUA officials constantly argue that student government does matter. If that’s the case, students should have more time to consider the candidates, candidates should have more time to campaign and elections should be about quality, not quantity.

    Opinions Board

    Editorials are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Justyn Dillingham, Allison Hornick, Damion LeeNatali, Stan Molever, Nicole Santa Cruz and Matt Stone.

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