The campaigns have ended, the polls have closed, the votes have been counted and the winners have been announced in the Spring 2006 election for the Executive Council of the Associated Students of UC Irvine.
Now five students find themselves with new jobs for the upcoming year, and about half a dozen others find their wallets hundreds of dollars lighter.
Students were not likely to miss the brightly-colored flyers, posters and T-shirts being distributed during election week, items that don’t come cheap.
Collectively, the 14 candidates for the five Executive Council positions spent about $7,600 campaigning.
Excluding Nicole Decuollo, whose expenses are unknown because she failed to submit a financial statement, and Jose Gonzalez, who ran unopposed and spent only $9, this works out to about $630 per candidate.
Although all candidates are required to submit financial statements detailing what they spent money on and who donated to their campaigns, it is difficult to be completely fair when comparing what each candidate spent, mostly because of differing understandings of what constitutes ‘campaign expenditures.’
Rosanna Huang, who won the position of vice president of student services, for example, listed a $700 laptop and a $200 pair of computer speakers among her expenses, driving her self-reported total expenditures to $1,870. The real figure seems to be closer to $970.
Similarly, Andre Ramirez, who won the executive vice presidential race, declared $50 that he had spent on parking during the period in which he was campaigning.
Eric Williams filed what might be the most thorough financial statement, meticulously calculating how much he spent on ingredients for 512 homemade cookies, taking into account how much of each ingredient he used. Williams spent $2.685 on granulated sugar, for example. (Yes, he really did calculate to the nearest half-cent.)
One of the most interesting trends this year was a marked increase in paid advertisements on the popular Web site, Facebook.com. Gil Weisner and Williams each spent $20 on Facebook ads. Vera Konkankit spent $25. Joe Le spent $30. Andre Ramirez spent $60.
Candidates were also required to report donations, monetary or otherwise. While many candidates reported help from mom and dad, some received donations from the Cross-Cultural Center’s Umbrella Council, often in the form of borrowed banners, tables or canopies.
Ramirez and Huang probably received money from the most sources. Ramirez got a $50 donation, the maximum allowable, from his fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha, in addition to being able to use the fraternity’s table and canopy. He also received $80 from four individuals, three of whom are affiliated with Pi Kappa Alpha.
Huang reported a total of $175 from the Vietnamese-American Council, which covers the entire cost of a tent and a table, which she seems to have only borrowed. In addition, she received about $83 from five different people, plus $200 worth of DJ services.
Unfortunately for anyone who emptied their bank account to fund their political aspirations, there was no a direct correlation this year between who spent the most and who received the most votes in each race.
In the presidential race, for example, Yohan Kim spent the most, $1,146.60, but came in second. The winner, Stephanie Johnson, spent $753.52.