Students turn out for A.S. elections

Daniel Harju

CSUN students decided the fate of two proposed fee increases in the Associated Students election Tuesday and Wednesday. The contested referendums, proposing increases of $15 for both the A.S. fee and the Instructionally Related Activities fee, were expecting to increase voter turnout, which is usually considerably less than 10 percent of the student body.

“Since there is a (fee increase) referendum on the ballot, more students are inclined to vote because it affects them,” said Kevin Mogaradi, A.S. marketing and public relations coordinator. “We’re hoping that it would pass because it would benefit students.”

Before the election results are made public, the A.S. election committee, an independent body including students and faculty, will look them over to make sure there are no inconsistencies. The results will be posted Thursday morning on the A.S. Web site and outside the A.S. office.

The ballot also included elections for A.S. Senate representatives and a proposed amendment to the equal opportunity part of the A.S. mission statement to include “or size.”

“I think it is a very good amendment to have,” Mogaradi said. “We are not all the same size, so we have to include that.”

Students cast their votes online and after the names of students are verified against enrollment records, the electronic ballots are sent to, a company specializing in online elections, to be counted.

Voter turnout in the A.S. elections is usually higher during the spring semester, when the student president is elected.

This semester, the turnout is expected at between 1,000 and 2,000 students.

“(The A.S fee) is still a little cheaper than at other schools, but it’s still expensive,” said Roger Mathews, an art major. “A fee hike is going to make it even harder for under-privileged students to get an education.”

“I don’t think (the proposed fee increase) is fair,” said Veronika Garcia, a journalism student, who had not voted yet, but planned to do so before the polls closed at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. “Just think of how many students need to work.”

“People won’t like it if the fees go up,” said Atta Tong, an international student and business major.

As part of “iVote,” a campaign to boost election participation, A.S. offered students who vote a chance to win an iPod.

The university is planning to create a voting feature on the CSUN Web Portal.

Starting in Fall 2007 or Spring 2008, all aspects of the A.S. elections will be handled on campus.

“I think it is bullshit that they want to raise the fee,” said Daniel Estrada, a CSUN sociology major.

“I just want (students) to vote,” said A.S. President Adam Salgado. “If they say ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ the student body has spoken.”

Results from the election will be announced on the A.S. Web site and outside the A.S. office in the University Student Union this morning.