UW Tacoma’s open candidate forum for student office elections was held on April 26, hosted by Associated Students of UW Tacoma’s board of directors. Elections Administration Chair Armen Papyan discussed his concern for the ineffectiveness of the election’s administration in ASUWT as well as how he plans on increasing voter turnout. Last year, there were six unfilled positions by the application due date, and while there are only three unfilled positions this year, ASUWT still struggles to get more students involved with their student government.
“There are some unfilled positions currently, but I know that there are lots of write-ins that people can vote for by writing their name down separately,” said Papyan.
This makes it more difficult for voters to equally weigh their choice of candidates since write-in candidates are less publicized.
To get more students to vote, ASUWT’s election committee made sure there was a longer voting period this year — May 1 through May 12 — compared to just one week last year. The committee also organized the open candidate forum for students to meet their candidates and get their campaign questions answered.
“We made sure we had two sessions of the candidate forum so it would better fit everyone’s schedules and lots of people showed up,” said Papyan.
Even after advertising the voting polls through flyers and notifications, Papyan and some of the candidates feel not enough UW Tacoma students are showing interest in electing their new ASUWT board of directors.
“My main goal for the following year is to improve the experience for minorities and first generation students at UW Tacoma by making sure they get more involved in elections and getting their voice heard,” said Diana Algomeda, senator candidate and first generation student.
Papyan later discussed his struggle as the Elections Administration Chair and says his struggle may have caused inefficiency during elections.
“I wish I could have been hired for the position earlier enough to schedule the calendar. I didn’t have time to carefully plan to meet ASUWT’s needs and some advice from the previous Elections Chair would have helped a lot,” said Papyan.
He will be writing a long letter with tips and instruction to better prepare the next Elections Administration Chair so that the transition will be smoother.
The current ASUWT board has been eager to change some rules in their bylaws in order to make the election process more efficient.
“Because so many board members and senators are involved in the bylaws committee, it’s been hard to make changes but [she] hope[s] that changes after elections,” said Christie Peralta, Director of International Affairs.
The next ASUWT board of directors and Elections Administration Chair will work towards making changes to ensure a greater voter turnout.