Low voter turnout engenders ASI’s campaign fund request
March 6, 2008 3:08 PM
Frustrated with rock-bottom voter turnouts, the student union is asking the SF State administration for a $5,000 campaign fund to distribute among candidates.
The proposed ASI Elections Finance Fund is similar to San Francisco’s election fund, and would give a percentage of the money to qualified candidates for campaign expenses such as creating flyers and posters. The percentage would be proportional to the amount of community support demonstrated through the collection of student signatures.
“This would promote and encourage the democratic process here at San Francisco State,” ASI President Isidro J. Armenta, the board member behind the proposal. “It will give everyone an incentive to participate in the elections.”
Armenta said the bill aims to increase voter turnout and the number of candidates running for ASI positions. While the ASI budget request has been sent to the school’s Administration and Finance Committee for approval it has not been reviewed yet, said Christopher Bomar, executive assistant to Leroy M. Morishita, Vice President of Administration and Finance.
“As far as I know, it hasn’t been taken up by the finance committee,” said Bomar.
Natalie Franklin, ASI Co-Chair of Finance said she doesn’t agree with the possibility of ASI funding student campaigns—even though she herself is running for ASI president in the March 2008 election.
“I personally think it is unethical for the organization running an election to finance a candidate’s campaign.
“When I ran, I used my own money for campaigning and therefore I worked harder because my own money was at risk,” she said.
Armenta said he hopes that the campaign fund would increase the diversity of the ASI board by encouraging more students to run, and would also generate more publicity for elections, thereby increasing voter turnout through the subsidization of campaign materials such as flyers and posters.
“It would address everyone’s frustration about low voter turnout,” Armenta said. During the March 2007 ASI election, only 6 percent of the school’s student body voted, according to a figure given by Internal Affairs to [X]press last semester.
Franklin disagrees, saying it’s already easy enough for students to find out about the election.
“In the past, voter booths have been everywhere. If a booth is right next to a classroom, I highly doubt more campaign posters are going to make students run to the polls,” she said.
The ASI Co-Chair of Finance said the fund is not a smart line item for ASI’s budget that already has certain constraints and restrictions. Instead, she suggested that the way to increase voter turnout and awareness in the student union is to use funds for events, student clubs and programs, not flyers.
Armenta acknowledged that the proposal is a modest one.
“$5,000 is not enough, but it’s a start,” he said. The fund, if approved by the university, would not go into effect until the 2009 ASI elections.
The entire 2008-2009 ASI budget is currently under development, said Armenta, and the election finance fund is one of five requests he submitted for review to the university finance committee.
“The fund is in its ideation phase. This is a general outline, but without financing we can’t go ahead and institutionalize this program,” Armenta said.
POST A COMMENT
|BACK TO TOP|| |
Copyright © 2008 [X]press | Journalism Department - San Francisco State University