The Bottom Line’s Breakdown of Student Elections

Image Courtesy of Associated Students

Gwendolyn Wu
Executive Content Editor

You may have seen the plywood boards around campus, different posters littering the sides of buildings, or excited social media posts encouraging you to vote for so-and-so candidate. It’s campaign season at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Elections officially begin this week and The Bottom Line is here to keep you informed.

What are students voting on?

The ballot that UCSB students get to vote on is comprised of two parts: Associated Students and campus elections. The A.S. portion allows students to vote on their student government representatives for the 2017-18 year (including the executives that head A.S. and senators who represent different portions of campus) and the different student fees that fund organizations headed under the Associated Students banner.

There are five executive and 25 senator positions. A full supplement of the A.S. elections ballot for 2017 can be found at, the Associated Students election page.

The portion about other campus elections allows students to vote on fees that fund other organizations and services on campus. This includes programs like Campus Learning Assistance Services, Health & Wellness, and the Women’s Gender and Sexuality Equity Department.

Graduate students also vote in the elections. While they don’t vote for A.S. representatives or fees, they do vote for Graduate Students Association representatives. They also vote to determine if they’d like to fund some of the fees shared with undergraduates, such as Arts & Lectures.

What are increases and reaffirmations?

A reaffirmation is an action that indicates that the student body wants to continue paying a fee to fund a certain organization. Under A.S., these fees typically are reaffirmed every two years. Some organizations not running this year will be up for reaffirmation in 2018.

If a fee isn’t reaffirmed, the organization is allowed to re-run their campaign in the following year.

A fee increase is separate from a reaffirmation fee, should a group be running for one. If an organization’s increase is approved and its existing fee reaffirmed, students would pay the increased amount during the following year.

Funding is often used to pay for program planning, merchandise, and creating new spaces on campus. Some organizations may also use part of the money they get from their fee to pay a small, set stipend to members of their committees.

(For the record: The Bottom Line seeks to reaffirm a $1.69/quarter fee for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years.)

How does voting work?

As of the 2015-16 school year, A.S. follows the Single Transferable Vote system. Students rank candidates for each position, and their vote initially goes to the candidate ranked number one. If that candidate reaches the minimum number of votes needed to win the race, the voter’s ballot goes to the candidate ranked number two on their list.

If no candidate in a given race meets the minimum quota, the candidate with the least votes is dropped from the race, and their votes are redistributed among those still competing. The process repeats if the number two candidate reaches the minimum or is dropped, until the individual vote is exhausted.

Students who currently live in the residence halls can vote for the senators that will represent on-campus housing, while students who live in Isla Vista, Goleta, Santa Barbara, or commute from a different part of California can vote for off-campus senators. Depending on which college you belong to, you will also vote for representatives from that college (College of Letters and Sciences, College of Engineering, or the College of Creative Studies).

How do I find the results?

The election results will be tabulated in real time at the Hub on Apr. 27 from 6:30 p.m. onward. Afterward, the results will be posted on the A.S. elections page online (

Feeling ready to vote?

You don’t have to go anywhere on campus in order to vote except for somewhere with a good internet connection. Voting takes place on GOLD from Apr. 24 at 8 a.m. to Apr. 27 at 4 p.m. There, you’ll receive a ballot where you may rank different options for your representatives in student government.