Martin Miramontes Jr.
T he University of Colorado Student Government is expecting another competitive election this fall, following the biggest voter turnout in school history last spring, which brought in more than 10,000 votes.
This fall will mark the fourth-consecutive election with at least double the amount of candidates running, according to according to information sent last week by the Election Commission.
There are 21 student candidates running for 10 positions — including five CUSG Representative-at-Large and five Arts and Sciences Student Government slots — according to the Election Commission’s report. The election commissioners did not respond to the Daily for interview requests.
Two tickets, Value and The Pulse, have 10 candidates each. A heated competition is expected, as both tickets include students who have previously run for positions and lost. Matthew Sonneborn is the only candidate running as an independent for the Representative-at-Large seat.
The online polls will open at midnight on Oct. 23 and close at 8 p.m. on Oct. 28.
Information obtained by the Election Commission said voter turnout is expected to be similar to fall of 2010, which brought in 3,692 votes, according to the CUSG website.
More than 60 freshmen applied for 18 spots on CUSG’s Freshmen Council this year, the highest interest shown in the council in the past several years, the commissioners stated.
CU junior Austin Hernandez, Representative-at-Large candidate and spokesman for the Value ticket, said a top priority for Value will be to organize a student group database to increase involvement in campus groups.
“It would require student groups to work with CUSG to get their information on a kind of White Pages for campus groups,” Hernandez said. “We aren’t sure how much it would cost yet or when it would be up but I think groups who want to open their arms to students would take the time to update their information.”
The database would improve the accessibility of student groups as well as help CUSG determine which groups and programs are most successful on campus, Hernandez said.
CU senior Isra Chaker, Representative-at-Large candidate and spokeswoman for The Pulse, said student safety is the group’s first priority. Chaker said the ticket jumpstarted efforts by attending the second “Forum for Racial and Gender Community Improvement” roundtable Monday night.
From ending discrimination to improved lighting on campus and University Hill, The Pulse will focus on making CU a safe place for students, Chaker said.
“Because we may not have the funding to add additional lighting, we will focus on making the existing lighting more efficient,” Chaker said. “Replacing bulbs that are out and making sure what we have now is working will be the first step.”
Chaker said the candidates are also hoping to increase funding and services offered by CU NightRide, a free driving service for CU students, faculty and staff.
Doctoral student Matthew Sonneborn, an independent candidate with two years experience in CUSG, said he is focused on bringing a unique voice to the administration by representing various minorities.
“As a CUSG veteran, I’m troubled by recurring comments I hear from students around campus that our Student Government ignores a large portion of the campus, like non-traditional, single parent, graduate and international students,” Sonneborn said. “If I am re-elected, I will continue to bring these different voices and considerations into debates already too monopolized by sameness.”
Candidates will have an opportunity to discuss student-group funding, safety and other campus issues at the candidate debate on Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. in the Visual Arts Complex Auditorium. The debate is free and open to the public.