Students elect write-in candidates in elections at U

Bryce Haugen

Simon and Garfunkel. Pedro. Tom Zearley. Though they weren’t on the ballot, these are a few of the people who received votes in the recent All-Campus Elections.

The majority of write-in votes were cast for University students, but “there’s always some funny ones,” said Adam Engelman, an All-Campus Elections co-commissioner.

“It’s a pretty long list,” he said. In fact, Engelman said, the complete list of write-in votes fills 40 pages.

For the most part, these unofficial candidates don’t receive enough votes to win an election. But this year, nine candidates applied – for 12 open spots – to represent the College of Liberal Arts on the University Senate.

Anthony Dew, the current Minnesota Student Association Facilities and Housing Committee chairman, said he decided to run for University Senate after the filing deadline.

Dew, a political science junior, received 38 write-in votes – enough to elect him easily.

“It wasn’t very competitive,” he said. “This year, it seems, people aren’t really seeing how they can use MSA as a vehicle to get goals accomplished.”

Dew said he mostly focused on campaigning for MSA President-elect Emily Serafy Cox, who, in turn, campaigned for him.

“(She did) a lot more than I did,” he said.

Dew said he also plans to serve as the Black Student Union representative to MSA Forum and help bridge the gap between MSA and the Student Senate. Decreasing student apathy is another goal, he said.

“If I would have lost the Senate spot, honestly, I would have been happier,” he said. “Then, I would know that more people are interested.”

MSA Forum member Ashley Wipper and CLA student Steven Mullaney were elected to the two remaining University Senate slots with eight votes each.

Prem Govindaswamy, a current student senator, was re-elected but will be replaced by a write-in candidate.

Govindaswamy failed to submit required financial forms to the commission, said Steve Wang, an elections co-commissioner.

Govindaswamy was not available for comment Wednesday.

In the race to represent the Institute of Technology in the University Senate, two candidates applied for four positions. The University Senate will resolve a five-way tie among write-in candidates for the unfilled positions, Wang said.

Wang said that write-in candidates have won several positions in the last few years.

June Nobbe, who served as the University’s director of student activities from 1987 to 2000, said write-in candidates were rarely elected during her tenure.

“It wasn’t a common experience to have nobody running for a position,” said Nobbe, who is now the director of student development and leadership programs.

But it wasn’t unusual to have uncontested races, she said.