With an extra flurry of posters, fliers and large wooden signs blanketing campus today, students might notice that once again, the Associated Students’ election campaign season has begun.

Besides five new or increased lock-in fees, undergraduates must choose this year between 50 students running for 28 positions, including four executive officers who will receive free tuition as one of the perks of the position. A new A.S. Constitution is also up for approval, and needs the support of two-thirds of voters to pass.

Starting April 24 at 8 a.m., undergraduate and graduate students can log on to the UCSB GOLD system to vote. The voting period runs until April 27 at 4 p.m. A full list of candidates will soon be posted on the A.S. website, www.as.ucsb.edu.

In addition to the website, students can learn more about candidates at several upcoming forums and debates scheduled for this and next week. The first of two presidential debates will be held in the Hub tomorrow at 11 a.m.

Candidates for executive officer and Legislative Council positions stayed on campus late last night to set up their wooden signs on select campus lawns, including in front of the Humanities and Social Sciences Building. Two main parties will compete this year, as well as two one-candidate parties and one independent candidate.

The roughly decade-old party Student Action Coalition has dissolved and its members have joined forces with the two-year-old Students’ Party, which currently holds the majority on Leg Council, as well as all four executive officer positions. Six former SAC candidates are now on the SP slate of candidates, including last year’s presidential candidate, third-year sociology major Bill Shiebler.

“In my opinion, the people who ran with SAC last year really started to see that Students’ Party was working on the same issues,” Shiebler said. “We didn’t feel it was necessary to duke it out and have this fight for three weeks. … We’re trying to build more unity.”

Shiebler is running for External Vice President of Statewide Affairs, a position he took over last quarter after Felicia Cruz resigned. He said he and many in his party intend to focus on the lowering of UC fees.

With the exception of third-year global studies major Romy Frazier, who currently sits on Leg Council and is running for president, the SP executive officer slate is filled with former SAC candidates.

However, not all members of student government feel the integration of SAC into SP has benefited the party. Felix Hu, a senior transfer student and political science major, said he decided to leave SP this year and join with the newly formed Open People’s Party, as he disagrees with his former party’s new direction.

Hu ran with SP last year, winning the race for University-Owned Housing Rep. This year, he is running for Internal Vice President. Two other former SP candidates are running with OPP.

“I didn’t agree with their ideology, so I decided that OPP is much more in line with what [SP started out as],” Hu said.

Hu said he believed student government should provide more direct, immediate services like the office of the student advocate, rather than focus solely on changing state and national policies, as SAC previously had done. As an example, he pointed to a resolution Leg Council passed last quarter that opposed unwarranted wiretapping on U.S. citizens’ phones.

“The wiretapping bill really doesn’t help us very much [directly],” Hu said. “I’d like to see [student government] come back to campus, come back to I.V.”

Founder of OPP and two-year Residence Halls Association President Jared Goldschen will run as his party’s candidate for the A.S. presidency. OPP is this year’s second-largest party, with 21 candidates to SP’s 26.

Goldschen, a third-year business economics major, said OPP’s main goal is to attract a wider range of students into student government and general campus involvement. So far, he said, it has accomplished this by having a diverse slate of candidates, including members of the greek system, UCSB athletics and students who have previously not been involved in A.S.

“We want to make everyone feel like they have an ability to join A.S.,” Goldschen said. “We really feel our slate is a nice slice of UCSB and a good representation of the university.”

Joining Goldschen in founding a new party is Jake Lehman, a third-year global studies and Chinese double major. Lehman created and is running as the sole candidate for the Chilla Vista Party, named after an Isla Vista community fair he has helped bring together for this June.

“Being the A.S. president would … enable me to effect change on campus,” Lehman said. “I live and breathe UCSB. All my free time is spent either pursuing academic achievements or [on one of my] projects.”

Besides the Chilla Vista festival, Lehman is currently working on several campaigns, including one to extend the I.V. noise ordinance to a much later hour. Frazier said she is also working on the noise ordinance issue.

Daniel Komins, a third-year psychology major, will run as the only candidate – for the position of Off-Campus Rep. – under the newly formed Cannabis Coalition, the platform for which focuses on the legalization of marijuana. Komins said legalizing the drug would lead to lowered tuition, as the state could tax sales of it and make roughly $1.5 to 2.5 billion, using a significant amount of this new funding to go toward education.

“More attention needs to be put on this issue,” Komins said. “I just feel like this should be the highest priority right now.”

Sam Giles, a third-year political science and business economics major, will run for a second time as an independent candidate. He ran with SP last year and hopes to win a spot as a Rep-at-Large for next year.

“I wanted to be an alternative to the party system,” he said.

Frazier said she hopes students will become more involved with A.S., including running for positions next year and in years to come.

“I want to uphold what A.S. has been doing,” she said. “Once I graduate I want someone to continue doing what I’m doing.”