Palomar’s Associated Student Government (ASG) have set high expectation for this year’s election.
In the 2017 ASG election, both candidates, Chris Hopp and Amber Bancroft, ran uncontested for president and vice president, respectively. Hopp gathering 25 votes, and Bancroft, 27. It was the third straight election candidates ran uncontested. Now, President Hopp and the ASG is hoping not only for a contested election, they’re looking for a significantly higher turnout.
“I think a good goal is a turnout of 500,” Hopp said. Although it’s an ambitious goal, given student participation in past elections, they’re optimistic that the steps they’re taking to prepare for this election will help them achieve their goal.
Erin Scott, chairperson for the election committee, outlined in an email the ways that that she is preparing for the election. “We will be doing small presentations in classrooms regarding how students can run in the election as well as what the mission of ASG is,” Scott said.
The classes they are primarily targeting for promotion are those within the realm of political science. The ASG reasons that the students in those classes will be the ones who are not only more likely to see the importance of voting, but also the ones more likely to run for a seat on the board. “The Political Science department, there are kids that really want to become actively involved,” Hopp said.
There are numerous other ways the committee is going to try to get the word out about this year’s election, among those are advertising through the Palomar website and newspaper, speaking at student-held meetings, such as those in the Inter-Club Council. In addition, they will also be handing out informational flyers, and plan to have ASG members out with tablets to show students how to vote and run for the board.
The election committee only task is to organize and advertise upcoming ASG elections. Currently, they convene exclusively during an election semester. The election committee this year is far more robust than that of last year in multiple ways.
This committee was formed months earlier than the 2017 election committee, it also has more members than it did in 2017. “I had, what I believed to be big idea’s for the ways in which I would like to promote elections, but my committee blew me out of the water in the best possible way,” Scott said. “They had taken ideas I had mentioned and put them into action.”
The election is set to begin near the end of April. On the ballot this year, the ASG aims to have a new constitution for students to vote on, which will revamp the structure of the board.
The constitution, among other things, will add six new executive positions, four new senator positions and two new delegate positions, which will bring the board capacity up to 35 from its current 23. It will also allow for an advisory vote to be made by delegates, to give their opinion on matters facing the ASG, as opposed to only having verbal contributions during discussion and no vote at all under their current bylaws.
A restructuring of the constitution has not happened for over a decade. “To my knowledge Palomar’s constitution has not been amended since 2006,” Bancroft said in an email. “Reasons for amending or implementing a new constitution vary a lot such reasons are to close loop-holes or better serve the students. We chose to change the constitution in order to follow more successful models from other schools.”
The new seats being created will not be the only reason why students might have a chance at joining the board come this election. President Hopp will not be seeking another term. “I will be hopefully graduating and moving on,” Hopp said. “Whoever takes over from here, I wish them the best of luck.”
The presidential seat is not the only one that will be opening up, Vice President Bancroft is yet to decide whether she will seek reelection, and nearly the entire board is undecided whether they will be with the ASG next semester.
Anyone interested in running for a position on the ASG can declare their candidacy come Feb. 26. No prior experience is required for any position, including president.
“Being a part of the process and having student involvement in the decision making leads to outcomes that serve students in the most effective ways,” Scott said. “Students know the problems they face better than anyone, and it is crucial their voice is heard at all levels.”
For more information on the election, you can contact Erin Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org.