In light of several events highlighted by recent Stanford Daily articles, it appears there were two problems with the recent elections: voter disenfranchisement and campaign regulation. For each of these problems, there exist common-sense—if not necessarily simple—reforms that should be implemented to ensure a fairer and more representative election in future years.
The student fee at Stanford is already the highest among its peer schools, and it is the Undergraduate Senate’s responsibility to keep the fee from rising uncontrollably.
Although the student body will vote on a multitude of candidates and Annual Grants in the upcoming ASSU elections, absent from the ballot this year are student-submitted referenda. This election season, there were three student-submitted referenda up for petitioning; however, none of them acquired enough signatures to move forward on the ballot despite strong backing from various student groups.
This year, the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) Elections Commission has made substantial revisions to the elections process, most notably with the introduction of Qualtrics, an online platform that the University uses for administrative surveys. For the first time, individualized links to ballots will be sent to each student’s email. Other additions to the voting process include reminder tables on voting days, hosted debates for the executive slates and dinner discussions between voters and candidates.