Olson, Skattum prevail

by Elizabeth Cook

Emma Olson and Ross Skattum won the Minnesota Student Association president and vice president positions for the 2007-2008 school year.

“I’m really excited. I think we’re going to have a great team working with us next year,” Olson said.

The two defeated the only other ticket on the ballot, Nathan Olson and Adam Engelman, by 123 votes.

Voter turnout declined this year, with 2,488 students casting ballots.

In 2006, 2,841 students voted, compared to 3,839 in 2005.

There are 37,841 undergraduate students enrolled at the University, which means approximately six percent of the undergraduate population voted.

Nathan Olson said he’s not certain about the accuracy of the election.

“I guess I feel like the numbers aren’t representative,” he said. “They’re just really low. I’m really surprised.”

Due to some of the technical difficulties the election process faced, including a two-hour shutdown on Monday in which students couldn’t vote, Olson said he plans on talking with the All-Campus Elections Commission to make sure the votes were counted accurately.

“I would like some more information,” he said.

Mike Griffin, a write-in candidate, said he’s skeptical of the results too, which showed he received 225 votes.

“I don’t believe it,” he said. “Not for one minute.”

Ed Kim, the adviser for the ACEC, said the results took almost 21 hours to be released after polls closed Wednesday night in order to ensure all votes were counted accurately.

He said the results are “absolutely” correct.

Even though MSA results are in, the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly won’t know who its next president is until next week.

Due to technical problems, which left more than 4,000 students unable to vote, the GAPSA polls will stay open until Monday at 5 p.m.

After Kim checked graduate and professional students’ X.500 numbers against the registrar’s office list this week, it showed eligible voter names were missing.

ACEC officials realized this error Tuesday around the same time as the campus bomb threat, which caused the registrar’s office to close early and further delay fixing the problem.

Looking toward the future, Olson and Skattum plan on continuing the new MSA programs such as Lend a Hand, Hear the Band and the MSA Express Van.

They also plan on lowering textbook costs and improving relationships with other student groups on campus.