In preparation for the Associated Students election starting April 19, a group of UCSB students held primaries last quarter to form the Democratic Process Party.
In late February, nearly 90 students holding existing positions in A.S., as well as students with no student government affiliation, met to vote in a primary to confirm the candidates and details for the newly-created Democratic Process Party. Campaigning by the candidates will begin this quarter.
Presidential candidate Paul Monge-Rodriguez, a third-year global studies and sociology major, said that by veering away from the nomination-style election process favored by existing student parties such as Open People’s Party and Student Voice!, the D.P. Party hopes to be more representative of the student body.
“The most important thing that distinguishes us is how we formed, and that was the primary system rather than the closed door sessions A.S. uses,” Monge-Rodriguez said. “It came out of students who were concerned about the future of A.S. Our primary goal was to make A.S. a little more democratic, a little more transparent.”
According to Amanda Wallner, president of UCSB Campus Democrats and former candidate for Internal Vice President under SV!, the D.P. Party creation was an attempt to reenergize the democratic process for UCSB’s student government.
“We are actively looking for student input at every level of creating this party,” Wallner said in an e-mail. “We [even had] students vote for the name and color of the new party so that they [could] have ownership over the image.”
Just over 30 percent of the student body voted in last spring’s A.S. elections, Wallner said, which she ascribed to a general apathy towards student elections by the student body at large. She said she hopes more students will become involved this year as a result of the new party.
“A.S. isn’t forming a new party, the people are,” Wallner said.
According to Monge-Rodriguez, numerous executives and non-executives from existing A.S. parties were in attendance at the February primaries to cast their votes.
“Everyone was really respectful of the [primary] process, especially the other A.S. execs and non-execs,” he said. “It all turned out pretty well.”
From the primaries, two on-campus representative candidates were selected, 12 off-campus representative candidates were chosen, one person was nominated as a candidate for university-owned housing representative and six people were slated to run for representative-at-large. The party selected one candidate for each of the roles of president, internal vice president and external vice president of statewide affairs.
–Elliott Rosenfeld contributed to this article.