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ASI+senators+discussed+delaying+the+petition+due+date+at+the+ASI+meeting+on+Feb.+11.+%28Edward+Lopez%2FThe+Collegian%29
Jannah Geraldo
ASI senators discussed delaying the petition due date at the ASI meeting on Feb. 11. (Edward Lopez/The Collegian)

ASI announces delay for 2021 election petition deadline

Fresno State’s Associated Students Inc. (ASI) pushed back the petition date for the 2021-2022 ASI elections to Feb. 19. 

The voting results were 10 in favor, two opposed and six abstained.

The 2021 ASI election petitions were adjusted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This allows candidates to submit petitions to run for office without the need to obtain nominating signatures.

According to ASI policies, 25 signatures are typically required in order to run for a senator position, and 50 signatures are required to run for an executive office.

On Feb. 11, ASI Director of Operations James Martinez confirmed that several major ASI events, such as the ASI presidential debate and all candidate meetings, could be pushed back an estimated one to one and a half weeks as a result of the proposal.

The senators reconvened for a special meeting on Feb. 12 to ratify the new election schedule. All ASI election-related events have been pushed back by a week.

The 2021 ASI elections will now be held on April 6 to April 8.

Martinez warned ASI that no further changes can be made to the election schedule without interfering with the university election regulations that could potentially jeopardize the incoming ASI senators.

“There can’t be any more changes to the timeline simply because the election requirements will not be finalized until April 29 which is one week before the last day of instruction on May 5. That will give us very little time to seat the next senate and train them up,” Martinez said. 

Senator of Sustainability Jason Vang proposed the extension due to concerns about students being unaware of the deadlines in order to run for office as a result of the pandemic.

“Essentially [we are] looking at the circumstances and just trying to evaluate the timeline…allowing students to apply and have enough time to really think about signing up and filling out the petitions,” Vang said.

Allison Bacani, senator of student affairs, supported the petition deadline extension acknowledging that, due to the pandemic and miscommunication about the initial petition due date, students might have been confused or hesitant as to when to apply.

“I do think having them extend the petition deadline would be effective in terms of letting students really think about wanting to run and really be more impactful about having your name on the ballot as opposed to writing in,” Bacani said.

Citing similar sentiment, Julia Larralde, senator of parking and safety, supported the proposal explaining that it is difficult to run for ASI office as a write-in ballot as opposed to being on the ballot. 

Karen Carrillo, senator of resident affairs, raised concerns as to whether postponing petition due dates would have any real effect on the upcoming ASI election regardless of current circumstances.

“There is no difference if we push back the date given how the other dates are not going to change … They can still run and they will still have the same amount of time even if we push it [the deadline] back,” Carrillo said.

Senator for Craig School of Business Narek Khatchikian suggested that ASI should wait until Feb. 12 to see how many petitions are filled out before moving forward and deciding whether or not to extend the petition due date.

“If we don’t get enough students by Friday to apply then we can consider extending it [due dates] because, from what the director said, it sounds like there is going to be a lot of headache with that,” Khatchikian said.

ASI Executive Vice President Hisham Qutob agreed that, historically, ASI elections tend to receive the most petition submissions during the last possible day of petition due dates.

“We do have to give a specific time allowed for the elections to take place as well as for campaigning,” Qutob said.

As of the time of reporting, only 21 petitions have been submitted for the upcoming ASI election. Petitions to run for office must be submitted by Feb. 19 at 5 p.m.

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