The Associated Students Elections Board (ASEB) held a post-election town hall at Pardall Center Friday evening where around 15 students gathered to discuss the various issues that arose during this year’s election in hopes of improving the overall election experience next year.
A.S. Director of Legislative Accountability Steven Kwok facilitated the discussion, which focused heavily on improving candidate safety as competition during elections runs strong.
External Vice President for Local Affairs candidate Justice Dumlao was injured in a bike accident while trying to find the best place for his campaign board the Sunday before active campaign began. As a tradition, candidates gather at Pardall Tunnel on Sunday then race across campus to distribute campaign material.
Kian Maalizadeh, third-year biology major and transfer senator-elect, proposed a “lottery system” for assigning spots, which he said will eliminate the need for a race and increase the physical safety of students.
One student suggested that the boards move from the bike path to the front of the library to avoid the battle of best placement.
Another issue discussed at the meeting was the structure and timeline of the election cycle.
After discussion, the ASEB decided active campaigning would move to Week Two of Spring Quarter in order to allow candidates and other students involved in the election process to concentrate on their midterms. This means that elections season would end during Week Three of Spring Quarter.
Candidates also faced problems surrounding the rules of the declaration of candidacy. Media outlets such as the Nexus and The Bottom Line reported on the students’ candidacy soon after the declaration deadline at the end of Winter Quarter, but the candidates were not allowed to officially comment on their intent to run until Week Four of Spring Quarter.
“It’s like after declaration of candidacy you can’t acknowledge your own candidacy, which doesn’t make a lot of sense,” said Kristin Hsu, third-year political science major and external vice president for statewide affairs-elect.
Several students expressed concern over the environmental implications of the campaigning boards.
Amy Koo, a second-year political science major, said reducing the number of boards for each party could reduce waste and encourage candidates to use other methods of campaigning.
“If we are moving towards a waste-free UCSB, then that’s something that can be restricted,” Koo said.
Meeting attendees agreed that the ASEB must be more involved in the campaigning process to reduce party harassment and hostility.
“I hate the fact that we are all friends, and yet for two weeks we hate each other,” Koo said. “[It’s] just not a good system, and it just breeds a lot of hostility, and it makes us less likely to work with each other in the future.”
Kwok said the tense political climate results from the “atmosphere” created between parties.
“It doesn’t have to be as hostile as it is,” Kwok said.