The ASNMSU spring 2023 election process has come and gone, but recent exposure about the mishandling of eligibility requirements by the ASNMSU elections department has left students confused and displeased.
ASNMSU announced the official results of the election on Wednesday, April 26, 2023. Although presidential candidate Hiram Camarena and vice presidential candidate Fateh Aswad received the most votes with a total of 911, they were disqualified from the race. As a result, runners-up Citlalli Benitez and Eduardo Gallegos III were declared the winners.
The mishandling of the election has raised questions about transparency and accountability within the student organization. Disqualifying candidates after they have already campaigned and won the student vote not only compromises the effectiveness of student government at NMSU, but also wastes time and resources for all parties involved.
Properly screening candidates for eligibility and verifying their campaign status should be a simple step in the election process, and yet this step was overlooked by several members of the senate. This oversight resulted in the nullification of over 900 student votes and the disqualification of Camarena’s and Aswad’s candidacies.
“As students at NMSU, we pay ASNMSU fees every semester, and it is our right to expect that the officials we elect are qualified to hold their positions and effectively represent our interests.”
If ASNMSU staff members cannot ensure that all candidates meet eligibility requirements before the start of an election, it raises questions about their ability to handle more complex issues and make more important decisions. As a result, students will lose trust in the organization.
This issue has raised concerns about the number of individuals within ASNMSU who may not have a proper understanding of the organization’s bylaws before assuming a position. As students at NMSU, we pay ASNMSU fees every semester, and it is our right to expect that the officials we elect are qualified to hold their positions and effectively represent our interests.
I believe comprehensive training for all branches of ASNMSU is necessary to prevent wasting time and money on mishaps like candidate disqualification, especially late in a race. The disqualification is a result of inadequate preparation and knowledge on the part of ASNMSU and its leaders. Paid student leaders should be expected to perform their duties efficiently to better serve the students they represent.
Hopefully, the spring 2023 elections can serve as a valuable learning experience for ASNMSU and future staff members to help them better prepare for major events like this, given the high level of student participation.
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to New Mexico State University, the NMSU Department of Journalism and Media Studies, Kokopelli, or any other organization, committee, group or individual.