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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ASUA sees increased candidate turnout

    As ASUA elections approach, the student government is seeing an increased interest from students hoping to soon have their own seats in the Senate.

    Friday’s deadline for candidates’ submissions to take part in the March Associated Students of the University of Arizona elections saw a significant number of students declare their candidacy. The surge of candidates is a possible sign of students’ renewed interest in student government, said Jessica Anderson, ASUA Executive Vice President.

    “”There’s a lot (of candidates) compared to last year,”” Anderson said.

    The exact number of candidates, as well as the identities of those running for office, will not be officially released until this afternoon.

    The extra time is necessary for election officials to look over all potential candidates’ paperwork to make sure everything is in order and that they are eligible to run, said Kenny Ho, ASUA elections commissioner.

    While it may be difficult to pinpoint the reason for the increase in declared candidates, ASUA officials are glad for the apparent boost in student interest, said ASUA President Tommy Bruce.

    “”It’s hard to find a tangible reason (for the increase),”” Bruce said. “”But it’s great.””

    Ho believes the increase in candidates can be attributed to the recent public presence of ASUA organizations like UAVotes2008 and the Arizona Students Association.

    UAVotes2008 held several voter outreach programs and meetings last semester leading up to the November general elections, while ASA held its spot in the news cycle with such efforts as the UA protests to the state’s higher education budget cuts.

    ASUA’s excitement comes not only from knowing that candidates are delivering in quantity, as the students running for office also reflect quality, Anderson said.

    Some qualified candidates are running due to recommendations from department heads, something the ASUA Elections Commission has just begun to utilize this year, she added.

    In order to declare candidacy for the Senate, interested students had to fill out a packet from the ASUA offices that included general application information, a registrar’s section to make sure students are academically eligible to run and a petition requiring 300 signatures, Ho said.

    The recent declarations of candidacy are a reminder for non-returning members that their time with the UA student government is over, a bittersweet prospect for ASUA’s executives. While they are sad to leave the organization that they have invested themselves in, ASUA officials are content to look forward to a future where a new crop of senators and executives will be taking over, Anderson said.

    “”We really don’t see it as a last hurrah,”” she added. “”But this is a huge opportunity for us to finish up.””

    With just a few months remaining in their terms, departing officials have their hands full with projects that have been in the works for years, Bruce said.

    Such long-term projects that have come to fruition recently and some that continue to evolve include the Tuition Task Force and special events such as concerts and class availability, he said.

    While ASUA may see its share of returning members, Bruce and Anderson will be graduating in May, with Anderson going to Seattle for a marketing opportunity with Microsoft and Bruce heading to New York City.

    Bruce and Anderson were originally elected to their executive positions in March 2007, with each being re-elected the following year.

    “”We’ve spent the past one-and-a-half years growing, changing, expanding,”” Bruce said. “”We’re redefining ASUA and the university.””

    The organization’s primary election is on March 3 and 4, with the general election taking place on March 10 and 11.

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