Only 1 of 46 ASUC candidates attended a nonmandatory meeting finalizing ballot spaces

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Out of the 46 candidates running for positions in the 2018 ASUC elections, only one attended the Elections Council’s nonmandatory Point of No Return meeting Friday afternoon, after which he withdrew his candidacy.

At the Point of No Return meeting, the Elections Council arranged the order in which all approved candidates on the ballot would appear, including 12 independent senate candidates. While there are 46 individual people vying for offices in the ASUC, some are running for multiple spots, amounting to a total of 49 candidates.

The former candidate in attendance was campus senior Guutaa Regassa, who had previously been running independently for president.

“Peace appreciate you reaching out however I’ve decided that I am going to withdrawal from the elections,” Regassa said in a text message.

Elections Council chair and campus junior Shirin Moti also confirmed that Regassa officially withdrew his candidacy.

“We have definitely seen an influx of independent candidates,” Moti said. “Last year … there was a surge in independent candidates and we have double the independent candidates (this year).”

One such candidate is “Furry Boi,” who is running independently with an endorsement from the “UC Berkeley Memes for Edgy Teens” Facebook page.

This is not the first time a satirical candidate has sought an ASUC office. In past years, campus party SQUELCH! has run satirical executive candidates, such as Ghost in 2017 and Kira the Husky in 2016, whose platforms revolved around satirizing current campus issues.

The Point of No Return meeting served as a follow-up to Monday’s Mandatory Elections Meeting, or MEM, which was attended by all of the candidates except Regassa, who had a family emergency. MEM was split into three segments spanning the topics of upcoming deadlines, campaign finances and the campaign bylaw violation process.

“We went over upcoming dates and general information so candidates are aware of dates they have to adhere to (and) turn in their forms,” Moti said.

Also confirmed on the ballot are two referendums. The first is the Enrollment Clarification Act sponsored by current ASUC senator Connor Hughes, which aims to clarify the ASUC’s membership bylaws.

The second referendum, the Student Transformation through Academic Recruitment and Retention Referendum, or STARR, would provide additional funding to the bridges Multicultural Recruitment and Retention centers through a tuition fee increase for undergraduate students, from $3 to $26.50 per semester.

As part of the Elections Council’s continued efforts to increase student voter turnout, it recently secured a space on Dwinelle Plaza to set up a polling booth, in addition to its main polling station in 412 Eshleman Hall. The new location is targeted toward students who are unable to submit their ballots online through CalLink, according to Moti.

“There’s more publicity there,” Moti said. “If (students) are unable to fill out CalLink, they can fill out a paper ballot there.”

Voting will take place April 9, 10 and 11.

Contact Miyako Iwata at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @dailycalmiyako.

Correction(s):
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the STARR referendum would increase fees for both graduate and undergraduate students. In fact, the fee increase would only apply to undergraduate students.