With the UCR campus being covered in posters and flyers distributed by the hundreds these recent months, it is apparent that the ASUCR elections season is in full swing. In an effort to accomplish the daunting task of winning an elected position, three major student parties have been formed: ABC: A Better Choice, [YOUR]SIDE and Vox Populi. Each party has members with more than enough potential and qualifications to hold an ASUCR position, but the question comes down to whom the student body wants to vote for. Ultimately, the presence of parties campaigning has by far improved the overall elections process.
The party system that has been adopted into the ASUCR elections has shown positive results for the most part. One such positive result is how the different parties have extremely diverse groups of students comprising them, instead of just students involved in one aspect of UCR. The candidates are not just diverse ethnically but diverse in political views and leadership styles, as well as involved in varied areas of campus, such as Greek organizations, Housing, ASUCR and different clubs around campus, just to name a few. Since the party system allows multiple students to actively campaign together, parties are capable of properly representing the student body because they have opted to have diverse members instead of uniform perspectives. The ability of different types of people to work effectively toward a common goal showcases parties’ qualifications to represent the student body.
Everywhere a student walks, some sort of campaign strategy is being used to attract our attention. Whether party-specific, eye-catching posters on walls or the distribution of hundreds of flyers in lecture halls, party members are doing all they can to get students to vote for them. People can frequently see student candidates on campus actively advocating for their election by tabling frequently as well as starting conversations with random students sitting at tables.
By spreading the word of what is going on with elections, the parties are doing the elections process in general a great service by rallying more students to not be apathetic toward elections but actually partake in the democratic process on campus. Having parties leads to more interaction with students — as opposed to someone running with no party affiliation — because parties have sheer numbers to help them campaign more actively. This is significant because in recent years there has been a relatively mediocre level of voter turnout with ASUCR elections, such as how only 17.1 percent of the total student population voted in last year’s elections. This shows the need for more students to become active in the elections process.
To say that the entirety of the campaign timeframe has been fault-free would be incorrect. There have been several incidents where individuals have been accused of tearing down party posters. These acts of “dirty politics” have targeted several parties so far. But the opposing parties have always shown their moral integrity by keeping finger-pointing to a very low minimum and pushing for a largely friendly campaign by advocating for all to maintain a mutual respect for all involved. Looking past these few distasteful incidents the party system in a broad view has proven to be successful when organized correctly.
ABC: A Better Choice, [YOUR]SIDE and Vox Populi have done all they can to gain voters by expressing their platforms. Each party has excellent candidates who are more than qualified and capable of doing an effective job within ASUCR; the final decision is in the voting hands of the student body as to who will become elected. But overall the parties have shown their value and contributed greatly to making elections better on campus.