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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

They’re just too much

What’s going on:

The official candidates for Associated Students of the University of Arizona office will be announced today. In order to become an official candidate, ASUA hopefuls must meet academic eligibility, which includes (among other qualifications) having completed seven units and, for undergraduates, having at least a 2.0 cumulative grade point average. Candidates must also have collected 300 valid signatures with student ID numbers if running for a senate position and 400 or 500 signatures if running for a vice president or president position, respectively. Potential candidates must have turned in their complete election packets, along with a $25 candidate campaign deposit, by noon last Tuesday.

 

What it means:

General elections take place one month from today for all 10 ASUA senate positions and for each of the administrative vice president, executive vice president and president positions. As evidenced by the win of write-in candidate Chris Nagata less than one year ago, one of the “”official”” candidates for president announced today may not be our next president (though the write-in process is its own complex issue). The hoop-jumping required to become an official ASUA candidate is excessive. As covered extensively by The Desert Lamp, both the signature requirements and the deposit requirement make the ASUA election far from a “”real-life”” election.

Potential candidates for senate must acquire 300 individual signatures with valid, legible SID numbers, which the ASUA Elections Committee then must verify. The theory behind the requirement is that each signature represents support, but at this preliminary point in the election, it seems more likely that signees just want applicants to let them eat their Core salad in peace, or maybe that they support the candidate handing out Otter Pops on the UA Mall. The implied question behind all this near-meaningless hassle seems to be, “”How willing are you, mere potential candidate, to go through this bureaucratic obstacle course for the privilege of participating in our election?””

As The Desert Lamp reported, ASUA has the highest number of signatures required to run for a senate position than any of our peer colleges, and only the University of North Carolina and University of Nebraska, Lincoln, require more signatures for vice presidential or presidential candidates. It is understandable that the election commission wants candidates to demonstrate their commitment in the form of collecting signatures, but the current number can only serve to deter those who might otherwise be interested in running for office. For a presidential candidate to collect the required 500 signatures in the two-week period between when packets were available and when they were due, he or she would have to collect no fewer than 36 signatures every single day. That number does not reflect the extra signatures ASUA recommends candidates collect to account for the signatures which are deemed invalid during the review process.

The $25 campaign deposit is another requirement that makes this election seem more like a let’s-play-government exercise than the selection process of a serious representative body. The deposit will only be taken if the candidate fails to follow election code, which includes forgetting to take down posters and Facebook groups before the deadline. As Evan Lisull wrote in The Desert Lamp, “”In fact, on the basis of expense limits alone, it’s at minimum 12.5 percent of total campaign expenditures — were this applied to the national stage, it would have required Barack Obama to leave a $95+ million check in FEC’s trust, which they would cash only if he failed to remove all those bumper-stickers and campaign posters after the election.”” In the same post, Lisull reports that the current senate did not clearly determine where this deposit money would go at the time they approved the Elections Code.

While the ASUA elections themselves will indeed be a topic on the tip of everyone’s Otter-Pop-stained tongues for the next month, considering the criticisms of the requirements to become an official candidate, voters can take today’s announcement with a certain amount of reserve.

—Arizona Daily Wildcat

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