This is the fourth and final time that I will see Associated Students elections here at UCSB and they never fail to disappoint. As a former Student Voice Executive, I would be disillusioned to say that the parties really are much different, even though at one time I pushed so hard to portray that. Besides the obvious color scheme, what is the difference between Student Voice and the Open People’s Party? The two parties seem to really just be a mechanism to campaign rather than anything substantial. I don’t see any real issue differences or even any real issues presented at all. This year isn’t any different, and worst of all, most of the candidates have no idea what they are getting themselves into. Unfortunately, we typically judge the candidates by the free food or shirts that we get, as opposed to actually trying to find substance.

This year, I am excited to see that we have a challenge to the two-party system. Students With A Plan (SWAP) seems to have the right idea about elections and student government in general. Their goal isn’t to create some fake divisions among students who worked together all year, but rather to educate the campus about what issues are happening right now. This is not to say that I endorse or even plan to vote for the candidates with SWAP, but I like their approach and support their ideas. I think we should keep in mind that we should all be on the same side, the students’ side, so we can actually challenge things like the MCP and fee hikes. The administration continues to establish these types of policies because we are too busy fighting among ourselves over things like legislative council having a dinner break or the format of an agenda.

Let’s get away from ineffectiveness. This year I challenge all of us to actually take 10 minutes and talk with some of the people running. Ask questions and don’t just vote an entire slate based on the free cheeseburger and sunglasses. I’m not voting for any slate, and I never actually have, but rather candidates from each that I feel would do a great job and get some work done. It’s our 9.8 million dollars in the Associated Students budget; let’s elect people who know what they are doing.