ASUCI elections occupy a liminal space between the rosy, naive popularity contests of pre-collegiate elections and the post-academic politics that some of our representatives are sure to follow after they leave UC Irvine. What we can easily forget sometimes, getting handouts on Ring Road and being told by our friends to sway votes in a certain direction, is that these aren’t simply popularity contests, and that we as a student body need to take the elections as seriously as possible. This isn’t just the job of the candidates themselves, but our duty as voters to take the political future of UCI as seriously as we can.
The spring ASUCI election season is upon our campus. As much as we see the candidates campaigning around in their own ways, trying to make a presence and win support, the elections wouldn’t be possible without us, the students — the individuals who will choose next year’s student government.
This is our chance to decide which individuals we believe could bring about some valuable change to our campus. However, many important expectations — from both candidates and voters — should come into play if we want to have a fair outcome from these elections.
Deciding which candidate to vote for is more than closing your eyes, pointing your finger at a random candidate and then voting for that person. Or picking who is better looking. Or who is giving away the best free stuff on Ring Road, has the coolest-looking posters, or changing your Facebook profile picture. Sure, these things can be great for grabbing people’s attention, but many times it appears that is all everyone pays attention to. These aren’t the only things that exist during the ASUCI elections.
What matters more –– what would actually be way more beneficial — is to learn what each candidate has to offer by taking the time to read through their platforms, which shouldn’t be seen as the annoying fine print on the fringe of campaign prettiness. Let’s be real here, the ASUCI elections are for real positions, paid with money taken from student fees. They should not be treated as some silly popularity contest that we all get suckered into.
Voters shouldn’t consider their ideal candidate only as someone who will promise to bring the hottest concerts or can pull off the most fun events in hopes to bring more campus spirit from students. We get that Irvine can be a boring place to live in, and anything fun within campus can sound automatically appealing. But what sounds more appealing is a candidate who can work with the rest of the student body to bring realistic, productive yet optimistic goals to campus.
Like we said, this is as much our duty as voters as much as it is the work of the candidates. Treat the elections seriously, read the candidates’ statements, talk to them about issues. They’ve been omnipresent during this week, a marketing blitz that has occupied Ring Road. Next time someone hands you a flier, ask them questions about their campaign. Think: what do any of the candidates mean to you besides a smiling face and clever campaigning? As much as it is important for them to be present during this pre-election time, it’s also important for us to be active in seeking out what will happen once we put these candidates in office.
In short: be active, be conscious, be aware and most importantly, don’t forget to vote next week.
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