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USG, GPSA election days bring apathetic voters, uncontested races

Increased safety, research funding and awareness about student government were common interests among students

VanArsdale_USG_election_vote-100.jpg

Online voting for USG elections is highly accessible, yet many students are not familiar with what USG does.


Across all four ASU campuses on March 29 and 30 students came out to vote in the annual Undergraduate Student Government and Graduate and Professional Student Association elections. Results of the election will be announced on March 31 for USG and April 3 for GPSA.

The voting process is administered by the Associated Students of ASU Elections Department. Voting took place entirely online through SunDevilSync with students using their ASU IDs to cast their ballots.

Each campus also had polling stations on campus with QR codes that students could scan to vote. On the Tempe campus, tables were set up outside the Memorial Union and Tooker House for students to vote at.

Students were voting for candidates who ran for USG executive and Senate positions across all campuses. GPSA candidates ran for a variety of executive positions and to join the GPSA Assembly.

Voters wanted their representatives to focus on the upcoming school year, increase funding for graduate students, reduce student fees, improve advertising about the election and spread awareness about what student government does.

Payton Erickson, a junior studying global health and biomedical sciences, focused on USG's relationship with student-run clubs when casting his ballot.

Erickson wants to see USG “making sure that (clubs) are able to get the funds that they need," he said. “Sometimes it can be a little tedious and inhibitory toward getting funds for stuff like that.”

Usham Singh Sabarwal, a graduate student studying management of technology, wants to see GPSA direct more research funding to students.

“Research, it’s never going to die. It’s always going to do something better for people, and it’s going to help more students get more experience," he said. "Knowledge is important, but students put in time to get work done for someone else.” 

A number of students also said they weren't familiar with USG and GPSA elections.

“To be frank, I didn’t know any of these people, so I asked the people working at the election booth who they preferred,” said Arjun Pullanthole, a gradate student studying computer science.

Nadeen Fakhoury, a senior studying supply chain management, voted at the polling station located at the MU. 

“I don’t have a reason for voting the way I did," Fakhoury said. "USG making themselves more public and more known would be good.”

Kiana Arellano, a senior studying forensic psychology, is a student from the West campus who voted at the MU. She said she would like USG to address student safety concerns. “I feel like there needs to be more talk regarding safety," Arrellano said. 

Students also shared similar views on the leadership qualities they would like their representatives to possess. Walstan Baptista, a graduate student studying robotics and autonomous systems, said a strong candidate is one with good time management and networking skills.

"The most important thing is relating to the students and representing them well," Baptista said. 

Sabarwal looked for similar traits when casting his vote. 

“It's the ambition and the passion that they have toward the position that they're standing for," he said. "I think that's what matters. As long as I've been in (voting) situations like this, it's more of how willing you are to do the work and how willing you are to help other people."


Reach the reporter at mhabelt@asu.edu and follow @mhabelt21 on Twitter.

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Mark Habelt Politics Reporter

Mark Habelt covers all-things politics in the ASU and Tempe communities. He can be reached any time at mhabelt@asu.edu. Please refer comments, questions, or story ideas to this email address, as Mark is always interested in discussing local issues. 


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