Only 2.2 percent of registered undergraduate students voted in the External Vice President of Statewide Affairs Winter special election as of Wednesday, according to Elections Board Chair John Paul Renteria.
At least eight percent of the student body, or 1,783 people, must vote for the special election to be valid, Renteria said at the A.S. Senate meeting on Wednesday. This requirement has been lowered several times to compensate for low voting turnouts in the previous Fall Quarter External Vice President for Statewide Affairs (EVPSA) special election.
As of Wednesday, 612 students have voted. With only a week until voting closes, the election is still over 1,000 votes away from meeting the eight percent requirement.
Initially, two students declared candidacy in the special election: Rachel Ng, a fourth-year biological sciences and global studies double major, and Richard Zierer, a fourth-year political science and English double major. However, Zierer dropped out of the race on Jan. 23, leaving Ng unopposed.
If the election meets the eight percent threshold, Ng will only serve for approximately three months until the winner of the Spring Quarter 2019 election is sworn in.
Ng hopes to center her agenda around statewide affairs as it concerns sexual assault policy, common sense gun control and reproductive justice.
To meet the voter threshold, Ng plans to utilize social media and class announcements. She believes that the lack of voter turnout in the previous EVPSA elections was due to voter burnout.
This is A.S.’s third attempt to elect an EVPSA since Spring Quarter 2017.
A fall quarter special election occurred due to the disqualification of Mayela Morales, a fifth-year global studies and Chicano and Chicana studies double major, in May.
Morales won the EVPSA position in April, but she was later found to not be enrolled in any classes at UCSB during the Spring Quarter, resulting in her subsequent disqualification.
Madeline Loudon, a third-year history of public policy major, was the sole declared candidate in the Fall Quarter special election. During that special election, however, the 16 percent voter threshold was not met and as a result, Loudon was not voted in.
A.S. Elections Board spent $50 on the Winter Quarter special election, Renteria said at the A.S. Senate meeting on Wednesday.
Voting for the winter special election opened on Thursday, Jan. 24. Voting closes on Thursday, Feb. 7, and results will be announced that evening.
A version of this article appeared on p. 5 of the Jan. 31, 2019 edition of the Daily Nexus.
Simren Verma is the university news editor at the Daily Nexus and can be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.