Associated Students Inc. (ASI) elections take place every academic spring semester, but the election process happens to be a bit different this year.
Due to the pandemic, everything has been moved to a virtual format, including the election and the election process.
Maria Marquez Mendoza is the elections committee chair and is the former ASI president of Stan State. Mendoza enjoys the process of learning about candidates and seeing how passionate and eager each of them are.
“My favorite thing about the ASI elections is when candidates start the campaigning process to promote themselves and encourage other Stan State students to vote for them,” Mendoza explained.
Hector Yerena (junior, English) is a candidate for the Director of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. This is his first time running for a position, and he has enjoyed the process so far.
“For me, the process feels pretty surreal if I am being honest. I never ran for a position like this before and haven't participated in something big like this throughout my college experience, but the process is also exciting because you don't know what to expect in an election, so it also makes me more optimistic,” Yerena explained.
Yerena finds enjoyment in getting to know the other candidates running for their desired positions and the fact that everyone brings something unique to the election.
As the election has changed from in-person to virtual, there is a big difference in the voting process for students.
Katie Rotan, ASI leadership manager, explains that the biggest difference between in-person elections and virtual elections is the way voting is encouraged and promoted.
"When we used to be in-person, we used to encourage students to vote for their next student leaders in South Dining and provided them with a giveaway like a tumbler & refreshment after they voted," Rotan said. "Now, we encourage students to check their emails to vote for their next student leaders, and once they vote, they are automatically entered into a giveaway to win a Visa gift card based on the number of students who vote in the election."
The switch to a virtual election process has also made finding candidates more difficult.
“During this time, one of the difficulties would be recruiting students to apply and run for ASI Elections," Mendoza explained. "Since previous years we used to recruit students face to face, a lot of students felt more comfortable to come by the quad and ask how they can apply. During this virtual setting, it has been hard to get that one on one moment with students and encourage them to run for ASI Elections.”
While the board of directors are facing challenges in the search for candidates, the candidates themselves are also running into hurdles.
“One of the difficult things to handle in the election is really just trying to do things remotely at times. For example, if you have a question you need answered, you can't just go in person and ask, everything is all digital because of the pandemic," said Yerena. "It's not the end of the world though.”
Despite the fact that there are difficulties, Yerena is able to look past the struggles and move forward.
“At the end of the day, these things get done and there is a solution to these dilemmas, so I make do with what I am working with, and the committee has been really supportive too!" Yerena said.
For more information about ASI and this year's student government elections, head to their official Stan State webpage by clicking here.