By Timothy Guy
By Timothy Guy
Student government managed to defy the odds and increased voter turnout this year over last year’s number of 323… by 14 votes.
A total of 337 votes were cast with 277 votes electing Michael Gonzales and Sonia Smith as the next ASRCC president and vice president.
A total of 13 senators were elected out of the 19 spots sought with the top vote getter, Jessica Guerrero, receiving 163 votes.
Earlier in the year Viewpoints ran a staff editorial calling for more involvement in the ASRCC election process and came up with a voter turnout goal of 750 for ASRCC to strive to make.
Gonzales took up Viewpoints’ goal and despite a lower turnout than expected, was happy with the result.
“So we didn’t make 750 obviously, but we were hustling, hustling, hustling,” he said. “So we had 337 this year; last year was 323 so we beat that. The thing with last year, too was there was actually two people running and this year was an uncontested election, so it was nice to see that we had 337 people come out to do their civic duty.”
One reason for the low turnout compared to other years, according to Gonzales, is the number of election days.
“The year that we had 850 (votes), three years ago, we were trying to get close to that goal, they actually had three days to vote and we only had two,” he said. “So with that in mind we did fairly well, I think if we had another day we could of pulled in maybe 500.”
Student Activities Coordinator Doug Graham feels that the amount of days a election is held for does not matter as much as the students knowing about when the voting is.
According to Graham general elections in the United States are one day and everyone knows to go out and vote on that day; the same should be said for RCC.
One thing noticeably missing from this year’s election was the posting of campaign signs.
Leading up to the election there were only a handful of signs promoting the election around campus. Student Activities sets a limit of 10 fliers per person, so with 13 senators and the ticket of Gonzales and Vice President Sonia Smith running, 150 fliers could have been put up… but weren’t.
“I only know of three senators that printed up fliers and put them out; everybody else was off campus or just knew that they were in anyway,” Gonzales said. “What we (Gonzales and Smith) did was actually direct handouts; we actually went around and passed out fliers.”
Despite low voter turnout, Gonzales is looking ahead for the upcoming fall semester and getting started.
“The first goal we are doing is creating goals, creating measurable and obtainable goals,” he said. “Then from there we will work on things.”
In previous years, newly elected ASRCC officers have set lofty goals and had high ambitions for the year ahead only to see those ideas never come to fruition. Gonzales is aware of this trend and hopes to avoid the same mistakes with goals being set.
“They have to be incremental (goals), that’s the thing; people who have lofty ideas… when they hit roadblocks they just stop trying and that’s what happened to a lot of people,” he said.