Candidates make final pitches as election begins

April 8, 2010, 1:02 a.m.

Voting was set to open for the 2010 ASSU election at 12:00 a.m. this morning, and candidates are making their last-ditch efforts to garner students’ votes before polls close at 11:59 p.m. Friday night.

Students can vote either through the ASSU election Web site or at various polling stations across campus. According to Elections Commissioner Quinn Slack ’11, polling stations will be open during peak daytime hours at White Plaza, dining halls, Green Library, the Row and graduate student lunch areas.

This year’s election cycle has been marked by a greater number of executive slates and the appearance of two student-formed coalitions for Senate.

In particular, the coalitions of Students United Now (SUN) and Students with Experience (S.Ex.), plus the 12 candidates endorsed by the Students of Color Coalition (SOCC), have been most visible in campaigning. Current ASSU President and coterminal student in computer science David Gobaud announced his endorsement for S.Ex. via e-mail last night, his only endorsement.

Students running without a formalized group have had more difficulty with getting their names out to the electorate.

“Because [fellow independent candidate Khaled Alshawi ‘13] and I do not have the money or resources to distribute free pizza, free sunglasses, or flier in large groups, we have had to work extra hard to build a solid platform and engage and interact with the student body,” wrote Senate candidate Noemi Walzebuck ’13 in an e-mail to The Daily.

Conversely, SOCC, an endorsement group founded in 1987, has years of experience in endorsing and supporting candidates who share core values of diversity, community, tolerance and transparency — and who try and succeed to win over key student group representatives.

Seven SOCC-endorsed candidates won seats in the 15-person Senate in 2009; seven won in 2008, seven in 2007 and 10 in 2006. Slates endorsed by SOCC won ASSU executive office in 2006 and 2007. (SOCC did not endorse executive slates in 2008 or 2009.)

“What makes us different from the new coalitions, I guess, is that we stand for that sense of community,” said Deepa Kannappan ‘13, a Senate hopeful endorsed by SOCC. Kannappan said SOCC represents more than just “ethnic” communities, but also religious, dorm and gender communities.

SOCC’s five member groups are the Stanford American Indian Organization, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA), the Black Student Union, the Muslim Student Awareness Network and the Asian American Students’ Association.

SOCC has endorsed sophomores Michael Cruz, Ben Jensen and Rafael Vasquez for the second year in a row, along with freshmen Kannappan, Juany Torres, Kamil Saeid, Katie Cromack, Madeline Hawes, Robin Perani, Milton Achelpohl, Pat Bruny and Daniel Khalessi.

Cruz is the only incumbent in the race.

Election results will be announced at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

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