Associated Students Director of Elections reflects on his career in politics

Kristopher A. Fortin

Dan Monteleone, A.S. director of elections
Dan Monteleone, A.S. director of elections. Photo Caption: Caitlin McCarrick / Staff Photographer

Daniel Monteleone has loved politics since the day he started his political career in fifth grade at Valencia Valley Elementary when he ran for treasurer.

Monteleone’s political career continued into middle school. “Vote for Dan, he’s the man: Vote for Monteleone for Vice President,” was Monteleone’s slogan during his junior high school campaign. Though he lost both campaigns, his relentlessness to serve the public has been so ingrained that his early defeats did not stop him from taking on leadership roles with the University Student Union (USU), Associated Students (A.S.) and his recent appointment as A.S. director of elections.

“Some people are drawn to public service and I’m one of them,” Monteleone said.

With A.S. elections’ past myriad of problems, the two most important including a historically low voter turnout and the malfunctioning of online voting systems, Monteleone will be at the helm as elections near.

“With elections coming up, I felt with my experience with elections, I would be a good candidate . . . and (A.S.) president (Abel) Pacheco agreed,” Monteleone said.

Monteleone received his bachelor’s degree in political science and English from CSUN. He was a member of the USU’s board of directors for one year and chair of the board for two years.

As a board director, Monteleone chaired the facilities committee for one year and then the personnel committee for four months.

“I feel he has the people skills and organizational skills to be director of elections,” said Jason Wang, USU associate executive director. For example, Wang said, when Monteleone was chair of the USU board, he was instrumental in bringing dances back on to campus.

There was a moratorium on school dances for a few years because of safety concerns. Monteleone worked with public safety and facilities management in order for the USU to be permitted to have dances back on campus. As a result, the time patrons were allowed into dances before they were turned away was extended and the dances were longer.

“If he can oversee a $6.5 million organization (USU), he can be qualified (to be director of elections),” Wang said.

Monteleone also served as student vice president at College of the Canyons, his first high-ranking student government position. While at College of the Canyons, Monteleone received his associate degree in English because there wasn’t an Associate of Arts degree offered in political science, he said.

“I took every political science class they have there,” Monteleone said. “If they had an A.A. (for political science), I would have got it.”

During last year’s presidential election, Monteleone phone banked for President Barack Obama’s primary election campaign and supervised Stuart Walman’s campaign bid for the California Assembly. For Waldman’s campaign, Monteleone supervised volunteers and walked door-to-door to solicit votes.

“If he says he’s going to do something, it’s gonna get done,” Wang said.

Monteleone will try to get an online election up and running this year. This will be the fourth attempt to have an election rely soley on Web technology. Monteleone’s main goal this semester is to have an online election system that doesn’t fail.

The turnout is not as important as the success of an online voting system, Monteleone said.

Pacheco said he is confident he made the right decision to appoint Monteleone.

“If we get the system right, the votes will come,” Pacheco said.