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Q&A with ASSU Elections Commissioner Brianna Pang

As this year’s ASSU elections commissioner, Brianna Pang ’13 is responsible for coordinating the elections for the ASSU Executive, the ASSU Undergraduate Senate, the Graduate Student Council, class presidents and special fees student groups.

Photo courtesy of Brianna Pang

Photo courtesy of Brianna Pang

All candidates must make declarations of intent and gather a set amount of signatures — 100 for Senate and 200 for Executive candidates — by March 1 at 5 p.m. The Stanford Daily sat down with Pang to discuss this year’s elections, which will be held on April 11 and 12.

 

The Stanford Daily (TSD): What is your role as elections commissioner?

Brianna Pang (BP): As elections commissioner, I handle everything that is related to the ASSU spring elections…I basically run elections and coordinate everything from ballot initiatives to special fees groups to candidates, whether that is in the Execs, Senate, Graduate Student Council or class presidents.

 

TSD: Do you have any early predictions for what the elections field will look like this year?

BP: I don’t have any predictions because I am actually supposed to be completely hands off. I can encourage students to run, but I can’t encourage individual people or support any campaign…Right now, I think about 10 people have declared for Senate, no one has declared for Exec and no one has declared for class presidents.

I held two candidate info sessions, and about 10 people were at the first one and about five people were at the second one. I think most of the people at the info session were class president slates who were interested, but other than that I am not really sure.

 

TSD: Do you see any differences between this year’s elections and previous elections?

BP: Nothing on the administrative side has changed…There was the addition of a couple of other groups onto the ballot for special fees. I am hoping that this year’s elections will be much cleaner than last year because of the whole email debacle, because this year I have made it very clear to people what the campaign rules are and that everything needs to abide by the Honor Code and the Fundamental Standard.

 

TSD: How would you characterize voter turnout in previous years, and do you have any particular goals for voter turnout this year?

BP: I’m definitely trying to reach out more to grad students, because historically the grad vote has been low…In my ideal world, I would want everyone to vote because it is a fundamental right, whether that is at the student level or at the federal elections level. I think everyone should exercise that right to vote.

 

TSD: Are you expecting that more declarations of intent will come in within the next week, and are you concerned that no one has declared for Executives or GSC?

BP: For Executives, the only slate that I know of currently is the Chapparal, the Chappie slate that runs every year. It’s kind of like a joke slate. I’m not really sure what would happen if no one runs for ASSU Exec — it would be very unprecedented. Given the information I have from previous years, people don’t usually declare until the last week. We are also in the last week, so it really depends on what happens this weekend. I know that people sometimes declare at the last minute for GSC as well…I think I would be concerned if it was Feb. 28 today and there was no one declared.

 

TSD: What are some key dates for voters and candidates? 

BP: March 1 is when the declarations of intent are due. That means that by that date you have to get the required amount of signatures, and for each position there are different requirements. For Undergraduate Senate, you need 100 petition signatures from the undergraduate student population; the Graduate Student Council doesn’t need petition signatures but they still need to submit a declaration of intent; [and] the ASSU Executive slate has to get 200 signatures…There are various petition guidelines, but everything is due by March 1, so we’re pretty near the deadline.