Voting numbers increase, more can be done

Denny Cristales, Freelancer

Voting turnouts were higher, but more can be done to increase the numbers, according to ASCC students.

The ASCC elections for president, vice-president and student trustee yielded more student involvement when it came to voting polls in comparison to last year.

No exact numbers are available, according to Gilbert Contreras, dean of Student Services, but a slight increase from last year’s elections shows more student engagement.

Campaign managers out on campus promoting policies for certain candidates were a factor for the higher turnout, according to Contreras.

“I think perception has a lot to do with it,” he said. “It looked like there was a lot more activity this year … Overall, I think it gave [the elections] more visibility and people were interested.”

However, managers for Hope Garcia and Eduardo De La Rosa slightly disagree with Contreras’ point of view.

Christopher Brown and Joseph Fierro both said that engaging students on a consistent basis about policies, not just during a four-day span of elections, would inform students a considerable amount about student government.

And informing students is part of the turnout problem.

“You always have to grab that estimate number [of votes] and compare it to Cerritos College students,” Fierro said. “I don’t necessarily qualify all of this as a higher turnout. A higher turnout would be like, 1,000 students.

“As far as that, though, it goes back to ASCC. I don’t think we’re outreaching enough to students. It’s something we need to start working on.”

Outreaching students and actually engaging them is still something that doesn’t necessarily have a plan yet, according to Fierro.

It’s a critical thing to work on, according to Brown, as a lot of effort goes into the campaigns, but not a lot is received back.

He mentioned that sometimes you just get students who straight up aren’t interested.

Brown said, “You get a lot of people who just aren’t interested in politics whatsoever. Or, they just don’t know anything about it, or they don’t have time … We need more things open to the public so they get a better understanding.

“We’re here on campus and we’re here to help you move forward.”

Fierro reiterated the expansion of student engagement past just the campaign elections.

He said that continuously spreading ASCC’s plans out to the public could be of great benefit when it comes to getting people attentive about ideas and eventually political happenings.

“On a daily basis, we should be letting people know who ASCC is,” he said. “Votes are something, but students are only engaged with ASCC for only those four voting days. After that, we just disappear.”

Regardless, Contreras believes the higher turnout from last year’s elections proves that activity is growing from inside and outside ASCC.

Different ideas to increase the turnout even further are welcome.

“We should all have different points of view as to how we can deliver the best possible outcome for students,” he said.

As far as more personal interactions with students go, Brown said there is still something that needs to be figured out to capture their interest.

“There’s that variable of the unknown right now that we need to touch into,” he said. “With that said, the unknown is something that we’re going to have to research. We need to know what that is to get other students involved.”