Senator Nate Thomas, chair of the Elections Committee, said the committee decided to postpone elections by a week and extend the voting period from two to four days to increase voter participation.
All executive board positions have one candidate running — except the director of finance, which has two candidates running.
There are two senator positions available for each school and class, except the School of Education which only has one available position. The College of Arts and Science has two candidates and the Nursing school has three candidates running. The Shiley School of Engineering and Pamplin School of Business only have one candidate running, leaving a vacancy in each school. The School of Education has one candidate.
There are no candidates for senior class senators. There are two candidates for sophomore class senators and two candidates for the junior class.
In normal years, ASUP has hosted a speech night for executive board candidates, however, given the circumstances this year, the committee compiled candidates' self-recorded speeches into a Youtube video.
Vice President Candidate Kila Ung said she wasn’t sure how interested the student body would be in watching the video.
“I don't feel like people are gonna be interested in watching those videos,” Ung said. “Especially since it's like one big chunky video, I don't feel like people are going to put in the time.”
Thomas said that ASUP has been promoting the election through traditional avenues.
“We've been using as many of the existing infrastructures that we have,” Thomas said. “like ASUP’s Instagram, the campus wall (and) sending out emails through the email list.”
However, Ung is worried that because candidates can’t campaign in person, voter turnout will suffer and may not surpass the 10% required for the election to be valid. If the 10% threshold is not met, they will have to do another election in the fall.
If a candidate doesn’t receive more than 50% of the votes, then it will go to a runoff. However, the likelihood of runoff is slim since all but one Executive Board position is running unopposed.
“Most of what we do for campaigning is physical, like we talk to people, table, put up posters,” Ung said. “It's all social media platforms now, which is also kind of hard because at that point you can reach who you can reach … With elections last year I would go up to people and be like, ‘Hey, did you vote today?’ … It was a lot of in-person stuff.”
Ung said that student participation is critical for ASUP because when students don’t vote.
“The whole point of ASUP is that they’re the voice for the students and that sounds kind of cliche, but it's true,” Ung said. “When students don't vote people into positions, those people aren't really representative of the student body, and that's a big issue.”
William Seekamp is a reporter for The Beacon. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.