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Students unaware of ASUA election campaign

By Anthony D. ┴vila
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, February 17, 2005
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Election officials wanted candidates to change the face of campus once campaigning began, but with the first week almost over, there's no makeover in sight.

Associated Students of the University of Arizona campaigns for president, vice president and senate positions began Monday and will continue until March 1 when primaries begin.

Adam Falck, ASUA election commissioner, said he was disappointed in how little campaigning there was.

"I was on the Mall today and it felt like there wasn't even (an election) going on," said Falck, a molecular and cellular biology senior.

However, campaigning will probably become more visible by next week, Falck said.

Falck and ASUA President Alistair Chapman worked for months on the elections code to make sure campaigning would run as smoothly as possible.

Thus far there have been five official complaints and two or three campaign violations. Some of the complaints involved problems with posters, but Falck would not comment on the nature of the other violations.

Dedicated candidates awoke early Monday morning to post flyers on bulletin boards, some as early as 4 a.m.

Nathan Bell, ASUA senator, said he was on campus stapling posters in the early hours.

After preparing since December, Bell and his campaign team spent three hours Monday morning putting up posters.

Candidates can find themselves spending 10 hours a day working on their campaign, said Bell, a computer science senior.

"It's exhausting," Bell said.

Ryan Erickson, a delegate for senator, said he ran into Bell at 7:30 a.m. Monday and realized most of the bulletin boards were already full.

Erickson, a public administration junior, said he did not mind getting a late start, because the senate position is not as competitive as a position like president.

Compared to high school student government, there is more support in a university campaign, and candidates have to divide up the work in order to win, Erickson said.

"At a university, it's almost like running a small town of 35,000," Erickson said. "That's the size of my hometown."

Since posters get torn down often, candidates have to monitor bulletin boards and kiosks weekly to put more posters up, Erickson said.

As far as more personal interaction with students, Erickson said he didn't plan to shake students' hands on the UA Mall until the week before elections because it was too early.

"We'll start going out on the Mall and passing out flyers when it's closer to elections," Erickson said. "Right now I think it would be a waste of time."

Erin Hertzog, an ASUA senator, is running unopposed for executive vice president. To help first-time candidates, Hertzog is planning to have a casual meeting Saturday where she will share her experiences and give advice to those who show up.

"I wasn't prepared last year and (I was) so na´ve about the school in general," said Hertzog, a journalism sophomore.

The most useful strategy is to speak to as many clubs as possible, even the small clubs, Hertzog said.

"When you sit down and talk to them personally, they'll remember your face," Hertzog said.

Though Falck is hoping for a strong voter turnout, he said he would rather students be informed than blindly vote for any random candidate.

"Keep in mind that 2,000 educated voters are better than 10,000 uneducated voters," Falck said.

Staying motivated to learn about campaign issues is difficult in part because students don't usually know the outcome of the elections after they vote, said Sara Hammel, a communications senior.

"I'll vote this year, but I kind of want to know what I'm voting for," Hammel said. "I know it's partly my fault, but they could make it more clear."

Candidates could inform students by posting fliers in the Student Union Memorial Center of when they will be speaking of advertising in the Arizona Daily Wildcat, Hammel said.

Hammel, who voted in last year's ASUA election, said this week she noticed one red flyer for a senate candidate.

The ASUA Senate Candidate Forum will be on Monday, at noon on the Mall, Falck said.

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