Today is the last day to vote in the two-day special election for the Associated Students Initiative, which proposes to increase the A.S. lock-in fee by $10.40.
Students can vote on GOLD until 4 p.m. today to approve or reject the boost in A.S. funding. In order for the election to be valid, a total of 20 percent of the undergraduate student population – about 3,600 people – must vote. Two thirds of the voters must approve the initiative for it to pass. Off-campus representative and third year biology major Adam Graff said a total of 2207 students had voted as of 4 p.m. Wednesday.
“As of noon [Wednesday], we already had close to 2,000 votes,” Graff said. “That makes me optimistic because one would think that, considering it’s the only item on the ballot, for someone to log on and take the time to vote, they’re probably inclined to vote in support of it. This is very important. Student government is dead broke. We haven’t had any increase in funding since 1972 … This is not to line our pockets; it’s to keep us alive.”
A.S. President and third-year English major Cervin Morris said he spent much of the last few days campaigning for the initiative and said he expects a positive outcome. Morris and other A.S. members set up several polling places around campus where students could log onto GOLD via laptop computers to cast their ballots.
“I just hope we get the 20 percent of people we need,” Morris said. “I just hope that people want to vote, whether they support it or not. I wouldn’t be out here like this if I didn’t think it would pass. I hope it does [pass] for the benefit of all students.”
Graff said A.S. has received a positive response from the students with whom they have discussed the initiative.
“A lot people said they’re supporting it, but of course that’s not a guarantee of anything …” Graff said. “A lot of student groups have come out in favor of the initiative.”
Fourth-year law and society and sociology major Lance Tackett, chair of the student lobby, said he was also hopeful about the results of the special election.
“I’m pretty optimistic,” Tackett said. “Voter turn-out is really good. I hope to wake up tomorrow morning with what we’re looking for, at least in terms of turnout… People don’t really have a good understanding of Associated Students. When you throw a can away in a garbage can, that’s Associated Students. When you go to the bike shop to get your bike fixed, that’s Associated Students.”
Members A.S. spent Wednesday evening canvassing Isla Vista, going door to door asking residents if they’d voted yet and handing out flyers supporting the initiative.