The ASUO election will look a lot different this year.
Abraham Youhana comes to the election board chair position with one goal: to expand opportunities for students.
Youhana is a sophomore from California double majoring in political science and business administration. With experiences in residence hall government his freshmen year, Youhana said his lack of experience in ASUO is an asset for the election board.
“Things can get gridlocked when you have the same people in the system,” he said. “It’s definitely detrimental to an extent, not having any previous experience, but I think I could turn that around.”
As chair, Youhana is responsible for forming a board of, at most, four other members. The board oversees all aspects of the spring student government election. ASUO Senate will confirm the rest of the board before they kick off the election, Youhana said.
Youhana’s biggest goal is to expand the election time slots. Last year’s process “seemed to be a glitch” and students didn’t really get the chance to participate, he said.
“It’s overall better to make the time gap bigger, so that we can allow more students to participate,” Youhana said. “It’ll make campus much more busy … but I know it’ll be better if we have more time.”
Youhana also proposed to adjust the election date to avoid rushing the process in the first weeks of spring term. The last two ASUO elections were held at the end of March, which is the start of spring term.
Although Constitution Court hasn’t approved the timeline, Youhana said the election process could begin as soon as week seven of winter term. This would lengthen the election season to five to seven weeks, he projected.
Senator Abel Cerros, who’s been on ASUO Senate for two years, is concerned that the election will be too far back in winter term.
“There’d be spring break in between, and we don’t have control over what people do off campus,” Cerros said.
Senator Zach Rentschler is uncertain about the proposal, but welcomes new ideas to better the election.
“[The election board] is an independent body, so [it] doesn’t have to do everything the same as previous years,” he said.
To better inform students this year, Youhana plans to put out educational pamphlets and hold debate forums where candidates can demonstrate their ideas and proposals to the student body. He said students need to know what the candidate can do to cast the most informative votes.
“We want students to have a factual picture of what is going on,” Youhana said. “The last thing we want is for students to be under a different impression and elect someone based on a promise that was made that is not within the Green Tape Notebook [containing bylaws that student government must follow].”
The election board will also actively table with campaigns during the general election, Youhana said. He will also hold office hours during election season. The election board will continue to partner with the School of Journalism and Communication to provide the voter guide.
“But most of all, I want to make it into a fun process,” Youhana said. “If it’s just chaos and always ridiculous grievances, then people don’t want to participate. We could find ourselves in a couple years with a lack of student participation, and that’s a problem.”