With nearly two years of U.S. presidential election coverage over and done with as of Tuesday night, UNM students can now turn their attention to casting ballots for government leaders much closer to home.
Senatorial elections for the Associated Students of UNM are on Wednesday, and the undergraduate student governing body is looking for students to provide input on who should represent them.
“Our Elections Commission has been working diligently to make sure this is a fair and efficient election for students who wish to make their voice heard,” said Gabe Gallegos, ASUNM communications director.
Students may cast up to ten votes for senators. 10 seats are up for grabs, and nearly 40 candidates are vying for them.
On Election Day, students may vote in a variety of ways, one of which is via their MyUNM accounts from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Physical voting locations are in the Student Residence Center Commons, Zimmerman Library, and the second floor of the SUB by the Welcome Desk. All voting locations are open from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. as well.
Positions are filled in order of the person that receives the most votes. In the event of a tie, either of the candidates will be asked if they want to concede. If they both decide not to, the tie will be decided via a coin toss by a member of the ASUNM Elections Commission.
Provided they meet certain requirements — including taking at least six credit hours and having a cumulative 2.5 GPA — any undergraduate student can run for ASUNM Senate, ASUNM officials said.
A lot has gone into preparing for the election on Nov. 16, as polling must be reserved months in advance, said Elections Commission Executive Director Keith Blumenfeld.
“We are hiring poll workers from student groups to ensure that every polling station is staffed and ready for students to choose their representatives,” Blumenfeld said. “We’ve also been working with UNM’s IT team, and they have been excellent implementing the online ballot and ensuring that there are no issues with the way students vote.”
Paper ballots can be used in the event that a student cannot log into their MyUNM account, he said. This rarely occurs, about once out of 1,500 votes, but it might be tough for ASUNM to reach that number of turnout when taking previous semesters into account.
Only twice since 2005 have at least 1,500 students made it to the polls. Last year, with the implementation of online voting, was one of them.
According to the 2016 enrollment report released by the UNM Registrar, there are 19,648 undergraduate students enrolled this fall semester.
ASUNM has strict campaigning regulations, according to the ASUNM Law Book. No one may campaign or post flyers within 25 feet of a building that is holding an ASUNM voting location or public computer. This regulation pertains to both Early Voting Day — which was on Thursday — and Election Day.
Nikole McKibben is a news reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @nmckibben92.