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The Daily Wildcat

 

UA students can run for vacant ASUA Senate seat

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Tyler Besh
Tyler Besh // The Daily Wildcat Hannah Sager, ASUA Council member, is given a senate seat packet at the front office of the ASUA office on Tuesday September 3, 2013.

Students interested in filling the open ASUA Senate seat can now pick up a special election packet in the ASUA offices.

Students will have two weeks to collect signatures and have their eligibility checked by the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, as packets are due to the ASUA office by noon on Sept. 16. ASUA officers will then determine which applicants are eligible to compete as candidates in the special election for the seat left vacant by Tate Arnold’s resignation.

“We are hoping to break our previous record of people running,” said Morgan Abraham, ASUA president. “I think last time in our special election, we had eight different people running, and that was the election I ended up winning. We’re really hoping to get 10 packets out there, which I think is absolutely doable with the amount of response we’ve had already.”

ASUA officials have created an event on Facebook to spread awareness about the open seat, and information about the special election has been sent out to every listserv that ASUA has access to, Abraham said.

Although there were problems with the ASUA general election last year, ASUA elections bylaws won’t be reviewed until October, according to Marc Small, the ASUA elections commissioner.

“We have not reviewed those [bylaws] yet for this election because [the resignation] came so late,” Small said. “[It] was a week or two before school started that the office was notified, so we are using current bylaws for this election.”

ASUA Sen. Dakota Staren said the empty seat hasn’t caused problems yet.

“We’ve really had only one meeting officially so far,” Staren said, “so it hasn’t impacted much. I definitely think once we start voting on ASA stuff, it’s really important to have someone filling that spot, because that can make a dramatic difference on if we pass that stuff or not during our ASUA Senate meetings.”

It’s important to fill the Senate seat because each senator has their own projects to work on throughout the semester, Small said.
For example, the UA’s grade replacement policy was made possible because an ASUA senator made it their project, Small said.

Hannah Sager, a pre-business sophomore and former vice president of Freshman Class Council, said she plans to pick up a packet to apply for the vacant seat.

“I didn’t run originally because I didn’t have any platforms that I was super passionate about,” Sager said. “Now, having experience in ASUA and really going into it, I do have some ideas that I want to change with the school and basically make it a better place.”

Abraham stressed that both graduate and undergraduate students can apply to run in the election.

“I’ve always loved encouraging graduates to apply,” Abraham said. “ASUA represents both undergrads and grads.”

Based on the special election that he took part in last year, Abraham said he wishes the special election could have a primary to “weed out” some people. The final vote can be very close in special elections, but there isn’t much ASUA can do about that, he said.

On Sept. 19, ASUA will host a meeting to go over the rules of the special election with qualified candidates. Candidates will then have almost two weeks to campaign before the election takes place on Oct. 1.

“We’re looking at a month and a half total,” Abraham said, “which is fairly quick compared to the other elections that last three to four months.”

ASUA officers have been working on a PR campaign to encourage students to vote in the special election, evidenced by the large dry-erase board in Abraham’s office. The campaign will reach out to students via social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram and Vine. ASUA officials also plan to create a YouTube video explaining what the ASUA Senate does, Abraham said. Visits to clubs and greek organizations are in the works as well, he added.

“[We will go out and say,] ‘Hey, don’t forget to vote; it’s incredibly important, do your research’ — that kind of stuff,” Abraham said. “No one’s really done that in the past. In the past, it’s been up to the candidate to get people to vote, [and] then the whole office kind of sat back and watched. So, we’re looking forward to … seeing if we can increase turnout.”

-Follow Rachek McCluskey @rmcclucsk6

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