BOULDER, Colo. –
University of Colorado students can expect a likely landslide during next week’s student elections, because — for the first time in more than 20 years — every candidate running for office is unopposed.
Barring successful write-in candidacies, the so-called STEP slate of candidates certified for the ballot Monday — including a new set of would-be tri-executives — will win election.
“This has never happened within the working memory of staff,” said Sylvia Khaton, the office manager for the CU Student Union. “I’ve even talked to a co-worker who has been here for 20 years, and she can’t remember this happening before, either.”
CU’s student elections will be held online Monday through April 10.
Student election commissioner Alex Schnell said that, due to the unique circumstances, the $12,000 the student government usually spends on competing tickets’ campaigns will be “significantly” reduced.
“Usually the main point of the budget is to help inform the student body about who the different candidates are and what they have to offer,” Schnell said. “But because there’s no opposition, we’re focusing advertising budgets on referendum issues that will be appearing on the ballot.”
The primary questions facing students on next week’s ballot will be whether to raise student fees $14 a semester to preserve transportation services contracted through RTD, and a constitutional amendment requiring student approval for any construction projects funded with student fees.
Daniel Ramos, the student union’s chief of staff and a tri-executive candidate, said student leaders need to convince their classmates that it’s vital they vote next week.
“Just because we’re running unopposed doesn’t mean there aren’t important issues on the ballot, or that we don’t need voter support from students,” Ramos said. “So rather than strict campaigning, we’re focusing on more one-on-one contact with people and talking about why they should still vote even though we’re running unopposed.”
With the ballot certified, the only way to run against the current slate of candidates is to file as a write-in candidate; to do so, students must notify Schnell, the election commissioner, by 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Though write-ins are not required to collect the 200 to 500 signatures that must be gathered by the students officially on the ballot, they still are generally at a disadvantage.
“Not to discourage people from running outside of a ticket, but running alone is a bit harder unless you are very, very, very involved on campus,” Schnell said.