Michigan Student Assembly elections are only weeks away, and students are already preparing and recruiting for their respective parties.

The number of parties participating in each election changes each year. The three prominent parties from last winter”s election the Blue Party, the Defend Affirmative Action Party and the Michigan Party will all be running candidates in the March election.

“Being part of a party in general is a great resource and a great motivating source,” said LSA Rep. Jessica Cash, a member of the Blue Party. Having a network of people supporting you makes running a lot easier, she added.

Candidates may also choose to run independently, such as current assembly President Hideki Tsutsumi and Vice President Jim Secreto did. Many independents said that it was difficult not having the money and publicity a large party can offer.

“It”s definitely a lot of work,” said LSA Rep. Alicia Johnson, who also ran as an independent. “But I didn”t have to subscribe to one party”s ideologies.”

The Defend Affirmative Action Party is the oldest party participating in the upcoming elections. It was formed in 1997 after the first lawsuits were filed challenging the University”s use of race in admissions.

“Defending affirmative action is our main concern,” said Business School Rep. Kurt Johnson. “By running as a member of this party people know up front what I”m about.”

The Blue Party, the second oldest party on campus, runs by a more broad philosophy, said LSA Rep. Matt Nolan.

“We”re not focused on voting ideologies,” Nolan said. “We all don”t have the same ideas.”

Nolan and Cash emphasized the fact that once elections are done, the Blue Party does not emphasize party affiliation so its members can represent a broad range of opinions.

The goal of the Michigan Party, a party new to the fall elections, is to create dialogue on campus and to represent under-represented views, said LSA Rep. Doug Tietz.

“Student government has failed,” Tietz said. “MSA is a do-nothing institution. We”re all about making MSA more effective.”

Past political parties have included the Frat Party, a satirical party run by the staff of the Gargoyle, a campus humor magazine, and the Wolverine Party, which was disqualified during elections last winter due to a violation of the integrity of the election.

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