ASWSU election bylaw changes in response to pandemic

ASWSU candidates no longer expected to gather signatures; former senator believes current senators are ‘doing the bare minimum’

Jaime+Tom%2C+ASWSU+Election+Board+member%2C+said+increasing+voter+turnout+will+be+a+challenge+this+year+because+of+the+pandemic.

SCREENSHOT FROM MEETING

Jaime Tom, ASWSU Election Board member, said increasing voter turnout will be a challenge this year because of the pandemic.

ABBY DAVIS, Evergreen deputy news editor

ASWSU senators confirmed to suspend a bylaw in response to COVID-19, so candidates running for ASWSU office will no longer be required to collect 50 signatures.

Getting signatures is more difficult this year because of the pandemic and distance learning, said Ciara McCall, ASWSU Election Board chair, during an ASWSU meeting Wednesday. 

“It’s difficult to create an environment where each student can get the signatures required without doing a lot of the things that they can do in a normal year,” McCall said.

Senators unanimously confirmed Jaime Tom, senior marketing major, to the ASWSU Election Board. 

“I think one of the most important things, now that we’re virtual, is spreading the word any method we can,” she said. 

Tom said increasing voter turnout will be a challenge this year because of the pandemic. It is important students are able to easily access information about the ASWSU election. 

“If something is hard and something isn’t seen, no one’s gonna do it,” she said. “So I think getting the election and getting that information out there is super important.”

Former ASWSU Senator Jocelyn Granados said she does not feel represented by ASWSU senators during a public testimony. 

Granados said she believes senators have not used social media to their advantage and have not easily provided information to the public about recently passed bylaws and legislation. 

“I’m just wanting to hold you all accountable as to why you ran to be a senator, to represent all students and fight for student issues,” she said. “I know that things could be done, and I feel like you are all doing the bare minimum.”

Granados proposed senators write a resolution for WSU to stop issuing late fees. She said some students do not have scholarships and are impacted by those fees, especially during a pandemic.    

“I would love to tag along with a resolution for late fees because I know that I personally had to pay one last semester and it was not nice,” said ASWSU Senator Tania Hernandez. 

In another public testimony, WSU senior Xitlali Herrera said she created a petition to have graduation in person this year. The proposal includes COVID-19 safety precautions. 

Herrera said she attended the ASWSU meeting to see if any senators wanted to create a document to send to Gov. Jay Inslee with COVID-19 suggestions and alternatives for an in-person graduation either this spring or next fall. 

“I think we have a really strong case,” she said. 

ASWSU Vice President Sean Doster said senators are not allowed to ask questions following public testimonies but can follow up with the speakers later on.