Voter turnout high for day one of A.S. elections

Students vote at the booth on the lawn in front of the Oviatt Library on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Natalia Bereznyuk / Staff Photographer

A.S. kicked off its two-day election Tuesday morning with a higher-than-expected voter turnout.

As of 8 p.m. Tuesday, 1,133 students had voted in the election, said Dan Monteleone, A.S. assistant director of elections.

“It’s way over our expectations,” said Raunika Nayyar, A.S. director of elections.

The campus voting booths are open from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m., but students can vote from any computer 24 hours a day, Nayyar said. The election runs through 7 p.m. today.

The booths are located in front of Oviatt Library and outside the Plaza del Sol.

“The USU is a chance for added votes,” said Monteleone.

He added there is potential to reach an international student constituency due to the USU location of the International & Exchange Student Center.

A street team composed of CSUN students will be present on campus today to inform students about polling places and the election.

The street team reaches parts of campus outside of the voting booth areas, said Dana Anderson, junior fashion merchandising major and A.S. elections committee member.

“If you interact with people more, it helps them know what’s going on,” said Nicole Younan, sophomore finance major and street team member.

Nayyar said students have not been confused about the voting process because it is easy. An e-mail was sent to all students through their Gmail account that links them to their online ballots.

The online voting system gives A.S. access to a more diverse voting body on campus, Monteleone said.

Prior to that system, it was usually only the day students with Tuesday and Wednesday classes who voted, he said.

“We’ve tried various online systems over the years. None of them were successful,” he said, until they began using an online voting company called BigPulse in Fall 2009.

Since then, he said, voter turnout has been pretty good.

Monteleone said a technical issue arose with the voting system early Tuesday morning, when the referendum that would lower the GPA requirements for senate members from 2.5 to 2.0 was not on the ballot between 8 a.m. and 8:50 a.m.

Approximately 75 students who voted during that time did not get to see the referendum, he said.

An A.S. member identified the problem at 8:40 a.m. and it was remedied by BigPulse by 8:50 a.m., Monteleone said.

Nayyar said a new ballot that includes only the missing referendum was e-mailed to the affected students around 5 p.m.

Those students cannot change the answers to their previously cast ballots and can only vote on the referendum, she said.

Nayyar said most students do not know who the candidates are.

“I know nothing about the election,” said sophomore Victoria Steger, undecided major.

Steger, 19, said she plans to vote because she feels it is the right thing to do.

“I should know more but I don’t,” she said, adding that she does not see the candidates interacting with students.

Richard Duryea, junior cinema and television arts (CTVA) and creative writing double major, also said he was not aware of the candidates but decided to vote anyway.

“I’ve got five hours to kill today,” he said. “It was more of a ‘Why not?’”

Duryea said he was not able to vote in the California midterm election Nov. 2 because he is registered in another county, so he decided to vote in the campus election.

“I found it very interesting that for a couple of seats no one had a name in the box,” Duryea said.

Monteleone said there are eight empty seats that had no candidate on the ballot.

He said there is usually a smaller turnout for candidacy during the fall election.

“People have been busy, having to work harder, (and have) less free time,” he said.