4   Election Week

No, this is not about the California State elections, to take place in November; this chapter is about a far more interesting and capricious event.

Soon after my arrival in Berkeley I fell into the daily habit of sauntering around on UCB Campus for a few hours after lunch, unless I had other plans for the day. Hardly had I reached Sproul Plaza and Sather Gate on one of those early days in April, than great excitement and ruckus could be witnessed in these southern entrance areas to Campus. From the many placards being toted by the crowd, I concluded first, just like you – admit it! – that a state election was in motion. But this concerned, of course, the election to the governing body of ASUC, the UCB student body.

Quite unlike student elections in Sweden, at least in my times, Campus elections over here are being taken very seriously and organised quite like state and federal elections. Lots of candidates fight for the post of president and for seats on the Senate. Although there are parties standing for election like back home, it is the person that counts over here, and this shows in the verve with which the candidates are being presented or present themselves.

That notwithstanding, good humour prevailed and everyone seemed to be having great fun. I was drawn into the general excitement when observing two candidates practicing a version of Californian line dance. Observing my vain efforts to get this on camera, they forced me to participate and I even learned a new dance step or two. Fortunately, none of this is documented on film, so it can remain our secret.

The voting had already started and would continue until the end of that second week of April. I managed to sneak into the "command centre" of the student voting committee and could document the serious clergymen present at their work. The centre should actually have been fully occupied, but lunch had lured most of the folks away, in the meantime leaving just a few "officials" to man the fort.

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