A.S hopes to bring out higher turnout

We all see the fliers and signs posted around campus concerning the upcoming Associated Students elections, but most students don't take the time to actually know what the organization is about. They do not realize that decisions made by the A.S. often directly influences their daily lives.

"We are trying to get the students to be informed voters. We want them to know what the issues are. Many of them don't understand that they're voting for their own rights as students," said Cecile Hanrahan, the student activities counselor/advisor at Santa Monica College.

The typical voter turnout for an A.S. election in the past has only been a fraction of the student body. In the 2004 election, approximately 1400 students participated in the process. Therefore, the question is, why such a poor turnout? Is it due to poor advertising on behalf of the A.S.? Or does the responsibility fall on the student body for not showing enough interest?

"We are trying to educate students about what A.S. does, because many do not know," said Gayla Burk, member of the election committee.

The committee is trying new techniques to create a larger voter turnout in this year's election. They are doing their best to place more placards and large display cases across the campus in order to raise awareness and keep the students up to date on the numerous activities that occur each month at SMC.

The election this year will be held the week of April 4, Monday through Thursday. Students will be able to vote in the Cafeteria, the Business Building, and the Liberal Arts Building. They will also be able to vote at three off-campus locations - the Madison campus, the Academy of Entertainment & Technology and at the Airport campus.

Also on the ballot will be a questionnaire addressing the smoking controversy on campus. This survey will help get an idea on how students feel about the many smoking restrictions at SMC and the possibility of creating a secluded smoking section or entirely banning smoking on campus.

Along with the election there will be a drawing every single Election Day, and numerous prizes will be given away, including a grand prize on Friday, April 8. With the ballot, students will receive a pre-drawing number that will be mixed among hundreds of others and if drawn, a chance to win an interesting gift just for simply casting a ballot.

Lastly, there are two main events approaching before the elections take place, in an attempt to allow the student body to meet the candidates.

On March 24, the A.S. will conjoin with the Inter Club Council (ICC), to create a setting where students are able to meet and greet the numerous candidates. In addition, there will be a Question and Answer series held at the Clocktower on April 5 at 11:15 a.m. in order for the candidates to express their stance on certain controversial issues.