By Jim Gessner
The headline could have read: “ASCOM election turnout unprecedented in recent memory,” or “Steven Petker wins ASCOM presidential election by huge margin”, or perhaps “voter turnout larger than expected.” Any number of things that, while factually correct, miss the point entirely. While 494 ballots cast was an unprecedented turnout in recent memory—last year only 176 votes were cast, it is an anemic count for a student body of 6,662.
Who’s to blame? We are. The students of College of Marin. The administration and faculty are not here to make us care about our future, they are here to give us the tools to make these decisions for ourselves. If we fail to use these tools, we have no one to blame but ourselves.
This small scale demonstration of democracy should stand as an object lesson—it solidifies the abstraction of governance into a tangible, participatory organism, but it only works if we do indeed participate. It is just as important as who gets elected to represent us in congress or even the White House. Higher education isn’t simply job training—it is the doorway through which we access our better selves. In college we learn to think critically. Through it, we are given the opportunity to mold the world into a better place.
Why did so many choose not to vote? Apathy? Ignorance? Poor planning? Most likely it’s a combination of all three and then some. An all encompassing problem like this needs a holistic solution. We, the Echo Times could have held a debate. The candidates could have made a more concerted effort to make their agendas clearer. The voting process was confusing, it could have and should be made easier and clearer. How many students would have voted if only they knew how? How many just don’t care?
Still, the democratic process worked, congratulations to our newly elected student representatives.
2013 Student Government Official Election Results
Verified by Dr. Arnulfo Cedillo, Director of Student Affairs
Total ballots cast: 494
Bold text indicates elected candidate.
President # of Votes
Steven Petker 329
Kahlil Gray 87
Vice President # of votes
Dawn McIntosh 146 (write in)
Michelle Grijalba 9 (write in)
Treasurer # of votes
Soroosh Pourmehraban 9 (write in)
Secretary # of Votes
Samantha Bernard 17 (write in)
Director of Student Services # of Votes
Puyun Yen 203
Director of Student Activities # of Votes
Michelle Gantos 39 (write in)
Director of Technology # of Votes
John Ware 12 (write in)
Director of Public Relations # of Votes
Alex Zavala 201
Student Trustee # of Votes
Scott Blood 229