Students cast their votes for A.S. Senate candidates

Denys Nazarov

Students cast their votes for one of 15 senatorial candidates running for the Associated Students government on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Although online ballots weren’t used this year for the election because of technical problems, election officials expected about 500 students to show up at the polling station near the Matador Bookstore between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Free barbecue and food were offered to all students who voted.

“This election is just for the senators, so the turnout is not as great as for the A.S. presidential elections,” said Alex Shahin, A.S. director of elections, a sophomore business finance major.

The results of the senatorial election will effect the representation of various campus organizations in the student government.

“There has been some dispute over how money should be allocated,” Shahin said. “The senators are a direct influence on where that money goes.”

The A.S. ballot had a significantly longer list of candidates contending for senatorial seats this year.

“There are 15 names on the ballot,” Shahin said. “That’s a large number of candidates for the fall election. Last fall, there was about four.”

A.S. planned to use online ballots along with paper ballots. After students reported problems when attempting to vote online on Nov. 6, the A.S. Election Committee decided to suspend Internet voting.

“The decision to stop was made within the first hour,” Shahin said. “There was a problem with the CSUN portal interacting with the eBallot, which we use for online voting. Four votes were cast online. Now we will have to transfer them over.”

The election results will be posted on the door of the A.S. office today, Shahin said.

The polling station closed at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. The the A.S. Voting Committee then unlocked the ballot boxes and counted all of the votes under the supervision of Leanne Vincent, coordinator of student leadership, said Mazen Hafez, assistant director of elections.

Students stopped by the booth for various reasons. Some were enticed by the free food while others came because they had concerns with representation of students in the government.

“Students at CSUN need to speak up,” Justin Sison, a freshman undeclared major, said. “I don’t think CSUN students are represented well. It could change for the better.”

A number of students said they weren’t well-informed about the candidates for the senatorial positions.

Gisselle Jaen, a freshman political science major, said she based her decision about the candidate on the photographs that were in the Sundial and on the statements about the candidates in the pamphlet provided to the voters at the polling station.

“I think it was a bit unorganized,” Jaen said.

“I would have put more information out there,” Jaen said.

“This is a campus of thousands and thousands of students,” Jaen said.

“If they expect us to vote from this, they might as well hold a closed election just for A.S.,” Jaen said.

Although A.S. placed an announcement in the Sundial about the election, Mathew Gajewski, a junior marketing major said there was still a lack of publicity because not many students read the Sundial newspaper.

“School needs to set up a giant billboard or an audio system throughout the campus to announce what’s going on,” Gajewski said.

“It’s hard to communicate to 35,000 students,” Gajewski said.

Gajewski has been voting in A.S. elections since his freshmen because he said he doesn’t want to be just another commuter student, but a part of the CSUN community.

“I think it’s important at least to have some school spirit,” Gajewski said.

“I know how it feels when no one comes to the game,” Gajewski said.

Preliminary election results were unavailable when the Sundial went to press late Wednesday night.

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