Welcoming the week of student government elections, the ASUCR Elections Committee released the preliminary finances of each political party running, revealing that candidates from [OUR]Voice contributed the most. The Elections Code does not require a cap on campaign spending by and donations to any single party, despite being a topic of contention during the last ASUCR debate.
Elections Director Stephanie Rose said that ensuring transparency within the elections involved revealing each party’s financial expenditures, giving students a chance to decide whether they had any sort of “weight” on their voting behavior.
“We believe it’s important for us to report how much parties have spent in the elections so students have as much information as possible (when) they vote,” she said.
Individual parties dedicated funds to various political items aimed at marketing their own brand. [OUR]Voice spent a total of $1,406.92 on flyers and shirts. PAC: Pride, Action, Change spent $994.21 on flyers, stickers and shirts. Meanwhile, [YOU]CR bought business cards, pens and wristbands for a total of $301.37 — the smallest amount of funds spent by a single political party.
[OUR]Voice presidential candidate and current Personnel Director Ashley Harano said that campaign materials were “essential,” with efforts being made to ensure the T-shirts were made “ethically and with ecological responsibility,” leading to higher costs.
Harano expressed that some candidates experienced financial difficulties, leading other party members to contribute more than others. Grassroots donations through crowdfunding was also used to support their campaign.
PAC presidential candidate and current President Pro Tempore Devin Plazo said that a list of purchased items by each party should have also been released to avoid confusion about the finances being reported. “Regulating campaign finances will be no easy task, but setting a cap on the amount parties can spend would begin to ensure a fair playing field,” she expressed.
Both candidates argued the benefits of party contributions and how they help in marketing a party’s platform to a majority of the student body. Further comments could not be obtained by [YOU]CR within press time.
Total finances were revealed on a Facebook post on April 21, but Rose provided an updated total to the Highlander as more expenditures were submitted by parties later that week. The Elections Committee plans on disclosing their own spending once the elections period comes to an end. Approximately $15,000 was spent on ASUCR elections last year.