Our View: ASI elections deserve higher student turnout

This week is a big one for students who are involved on campus. ASI elections are March 19 – 22, but this week students can educate themselves on the candidates and their platforms. Candidate meet and greets will take place in the USU and at the Friendship Walk all week, followed by the official Candidates Forum conducted by the Daily 49er and also held in the USU Ballrooms on Thursday.

We may be deep into the semester, but it is not the time to fall into a rut and get lazy. Students should head out to the meet and greets and the Candidates Forum to make sure they are well informed before the ASI elections.

The number of students who actually vote in the elections is disappointing. We are a campus of over 33,000 students and the number who actually vote is somewhere around 5,000. That is tragically low.

Getting involved in campus affairs is a hassle, especially when you are at a commuter campus like CSULB, but taking a few hours of your time should not be too difficult and more students should make it a priority. If you have the choice to educate yourself why wouldn’t you? That’s why we’re in college, right?

Still, the brunt of the blame should not necessarily be placed on students. Candidates could make more of an effort to seem personable and friendly rather than just poker-faced politicians.

Getting students to vote is only the first hurdle. They also need to find someone they feel can represent them well. Students are not going to vote for someone they feel they cannot trust.

Of course candidates need to be professional, but there is a difference between being professional and being unapproachable. If candidates paid more attention to things like that, students may feel more inclined to vote.

The most important reason students should vote is to get themselves out of the apathetic phase of their lives. As college students, we are constantly juggling different commitments – work, school, extracurricular activities and internships. Everything else just falls to the wayside. We do not have time to care about student elections – at least, that is the mentality. Students should make time to care about elections, especially since the elected candidates represent our school and influence what happens to us.

Tuning ourselves in to what happens around us takes effort, but it will only benefit us in the long run. Keeping up on student elections and all the hoopla that surrounds them is a good way to prepare for what happens in the real world.

Voter apathy at CSULB may not be a huge problem, but voter apathy in presidential elections is. These people are running to represent us and if we cannot be bothered to learn anything about them and do our part, we have no right to complain when things go wrong. Students need to keep that in mind.

Voting in the ASI elections is simple and if you are informed on the candidates and their campaigns, it should not take you any more than ten minutes. Students will receive an email next week that will allow them to vote in the elections. It is not too late to get informed. If you care about this school and what goes on here, you should do your part and vote.

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