By Olivia Kalahar
With spring break just one week away, the election for the new officers of Associated Students Incorporated at CSU Bakersfield is in full swing.
This year, there are five executive positions and 18 director positions up for grabs and 27 students hoping to win the votes of CSUB students. Some candidates, like those for President and Executive Vice President, are running unopposed. Other students must work extra hard to encourage people to vote for them.
The most popular positions this year are the director positions, each with two or three candidates running.
As more students run for positions in ASI, the rules and regulations for campaigning have changed with hopes that the voter turnout on Runnersync will be higher.
In past years, the turnout was less than satisfactory. 2014 had a 24 percent voter turnout, while 2015 had a 23 percent turnout. In 2016, only 14 percent of the student body voted.
ASI Executive Director Ilaria Pesco said the low percentage was due to a switch from the Big Pulse voting system to Runnersync. This year, Pesco and ASI Elections Coordinator Jason Watkins hope that their new publicity strategies increase voter turnout to 24 percent or higher.
Strategies include passing out informational fliers and creating polling stations like those from Homecoming.
Voting starts on Wednesday, April 5.
“Once voting starts, the campaign turns into ‘go vote’ instead of the candidates themselves,” said Pesco.
This change of focus is designed to increase awareness of ASI rather than the individual candidates.
According to feedback from past elections, some students felt uncomfortable with the ways they were approached by candidates. This year, all candidates represent ASI once the voting starts.
According to Watkins, the candidates seem to be embracing this new approach.
Both Pesco and Watkins are pushing students to go out and vote. Some students do not vote because they think that their voices will not be heard, the same reason that discourages citizens from voting in national elections. Every vote matters, however, according to Pesco.
“Everyone pays a fee to ASI, meaning we are all members of ASI. We are paying for 20 students to act on our behalf. That’s why it is important to vote,” said Pesco.
Each student in either a director or executive position is compensated with a parking pass, priority registration and scholarships for holding office hours, volunteering at events and serving on campus committees.
“They work really hard. These students on [the] ASI board are working hard for the student body,” said Watkins.
Voting on RunnerSync opens at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, April 5 and will stay open until Thursday, April 6 at 11:59 p.m.