Associated Students elections are starting up already, with political parties beginning launching their online campaigning on Sunday.
The beginning of the campaign marks the initial activities of current members of the Democratic Process Party (DPP) and Open People’s Party (OPP), as they actively seek out potential student candidates and any other students who may choose to run with other parties or even independently. Later this month, parties are hosting informational sessions designed to educate students on A.S. and the elections process, which differs for both parties. OPP selects candidates for their slate through an interviewing process, while DPP hosts primaries. Next week, parties and independents will be permitted to begin ‘active recruiting,’ which includes advertising party platforms, hosting public events and making selections for candidates. Elections will be held during week four of Spring Quarter.
According to A.S. Elections Chair Claire Fox, students will soon begin submitting declarations of candidacy, which is when independents and slated party members announce their plans to run and attend a mandatory meeting on the elections process and associated regulations.
According to Fox, independent candidates have had success in the past and running as an independent is a “good option” for students, citing current A.S. President Jonathan Abboud’s election to the office of senator as an independent candidate two years ago.
Third-year sociology and black studies major Navkiran Kaur said the process for building slates is different for each party and noted that while DPP’s primary process is slower, it allows for greater student input into the selection of A.S. officers and representatives.
“I believe the process for determining slates is different between the parties because each party has different values. DP Party was really created to challenge the status quo of Associated Students and allow for an open, democratic process,” Kaur said in an email. “We really believe that Associated Students should truly be associated with the students and as such, we feel the primary allows students to be directly involved. It also allows students to nominate exactly who they would like to see in office.”
According to OPP senator Ali Guthy, OPP candidates are selected using an interviewing process, one which Guthy said allows party members more “one-on-one” time with candidates, allowing them to better assess students’ leadership abilities and skill sets.
“OPP uses an interview process because we like to give candidates more personable, one-on-one time discuss themselves and their viewpoints; however, I believe that both processes are equally valid for creating slates,” Guthy said in an email. “That’s what is great about a two-party system – such different processes can be used, and both have been successful.”
Active campaigning occurs during weeks three and four of spring quarter, with general elections held during week four on GOLD. Those seeking office will have the chance to hold tables, pass out flyers and meet with students who have questions for them on who they are and what they want to do if elected.
DPP will host informational sessions Feb. 18 at the Santa Rosa Formal Lounge, Feb. 20 at the Loma Pelona Center and the Gibraltar Center in Santa Ynez, Feb. 24 at the MCC Theatre and Feb. 26 at the San Miguel Formal Lounge and the Santa Catalina Fiesta Room. There will be a last-minute info session on Feb. 27 in Girvetz, right before the DP Party primary. The most important date for DPP is the primary election, occurring Feb. 27 at Girvetz 1004, where any student can nominate any other student for a spot on the DPP’s spring ballot.
OPP will be holding three informational sessions for sessions for students on Feb. 18, 19 and 20 at HSSB 1210, at Santa Catalina Espacio II and the San Nicolas Classroom, respectively.
A version of this story appeared on page 5 of Wednesday, February 12, 2014’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.