Spork Party fails to recruit full ticket

By By Michael McFall

By Michael McFall

When the filing deadline for Senate and General Assembly candidates running in ASUU elections expired Feb. 1, the Spork Party was left three candidates short of a full ticket.

Candidates from previous elections said that Spork’s empty seats could mean the party will face an uphill battle against the Focus Party.

The Focus Party has 16 Senate candidates and 48 Assembly candidates running — enough to fill every seat in the Associated Students of the University of Utah legislature — while the Spork Party has 14 Senate candidates and 47 Assembly candidates in the race.

Spork was unable to get a candidate to represent the medical school in the Senate or the Assembly, or an Assembly representative for the College of Education.

Graham Anderson, Spork’s presidential candidate, attributes its shortage to an election rule that prohibits candidates from approaching students they don’t already know before the active campaigning session, limiting their pool of possible candidates. Anderson said his party made a group decision to keep the missing spots empty rather than fill them with people who aren’t confident they can perform the job well.

“I think it’s a small portion of the issue,” he said. “We’d love to have done it, definitely. But in the big scheme, it’s not as big an issue.”

Anderson said he thinks students won’t pay a lot of attention to the number of Senate and Assembly candidates on a party’s ballot.

Medical school representatives are especially difficult to enlist because the medical program is so time consuming for students, he said.

Jon Hayes, vice presidential candidate for the Focus Party, agreed that some colleges are harder to reach than others.

Focus had a hard time finding candidates from the College of Mines and Earth Sciences because its members didn’t personally know a lot of majors in that field. After finding one candidate, who spread the word to his fellow friends and classmates, they were able to fill their ballot, Hayes said.

If the previous election is any indicator, Spork’s shortage of Senate and Assembly candidates on the ballot might not bode well for the party’s chances.

In the 2007 ASUU Election, Fuse and Forward were the only two parties who had full ballots of the four parties running. Fuse and Forward were the two parties that made it through the primary to the general election.

“It’s indicative of the party’s outreach, and the party with the fullest ticket has reached out to more segments on campus,” said Cameron Beech, a senior political science major who ran for president with the Activate Party last year. Beech’s party was short two positions.

Clayton McDonald, a senior education major who ran for vice president with the Forward Party, said it matters in what areas the party is missing candidates.

Because Spork is short a medical school representative for the Senate and Assembly, medical students will cast their vote for Focus representatives.

Hayes said the more candidates a party has from colleges around campus, the more potential voters it has through its candidates’ network of friends and classmates.

It also means there might be fewer Spork candidate posters, and thus less advertisement for their party, McDonald said.

However, Ryan Carrier, a management graduate student who ran for vice president with the Activate Party last year, agreed with Spork’s choice to leave some positions empty.

His party also had a shortage of candidates because they didn’t know the proper job requirements of each position. Carrier said Activate decided to make sure it had the best candidates instead of just filling every spot with someone they didn’t necessarily know would do the best job for that position.

Dave Martini, the elections registrar, said he doesn’t think the shorter ballot has any effect on this year’s race.

“It just depends on how hard the party works, how motivated they are to get out there, if the students like their platform ideas,” he said.

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