The way student elections were run this year is kind of unbelievable. Over the week, many problems occurred:
Voter turnout plummeted. This year, 2,488 students voted for Minnesota Student Association elections out of a total 37,841 undergraduates. On the first day of voting, there were multiple hours where students accessing the voting from their computers were not able to access the Web site. The results took over 20 hours to be tallied and released after polls closed. There was an error that left off 4,000 eligible people from the list of registered voters for the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, and that election had to be extended extra days. Some students received error messages after casting their ballots, yet the All-Campus Elections Commission said those votes were counted. On the elections page, questions and comments were directed to an e-mail address that bounced back as an invalid address. Furthermore, a Daily staff member was voted as an MSA Forum at-large representative with a grand total of four votes. The sad part is she tied with three other people who had the same amount. Although there isn’t enough room for all four of the last-placers, we wonder if anyone is going to notice that the student graduates in a few weeks.
The fact that all of these problems occurred is extremely troubling, and possibly the most troubling is the record-low voter turnout.
ACEC is “an autonomous student commission under the advisement of the Student Activities Office and is responsible for the All-Campus Elections. ACEC is responsible to formulate, disseminate and interpret the Elections Rules and to govern the general conduct of the Elections.”
The members of ACEC should have done a better job promoting the election to students, ensured that there were not voting problems, tallied the results much faster, communicated voting problems to the student body and, at the very least, supplied an actual working e-mail address to students who have comments and questions about the process.