Election woes drag on

The All Campus Elections Commission deemed last week’s election legitimate; candidates say otherwise.

Justin Horwath

The All Campus Elections Commission took a step out of the murky Minnesota Student Association election with a determination that last week’s results were valid.

Officials recounted the votes Wednesday and determined that a completely new election isn’t necessary.

Still, defeated candidates question a process that drew both criticism and concern on behalf of voters and candidates alike.

On Monday, ACEC adviser Ed Kim received a request for a recount from Spanish and linguistics junior Nathan Olson, the runner-up presidential candidate who lost by 123 votes.

“We want to make sure legitimacy is restored to the election because it’s something MSA tries to build every year,” Olson said Wednesday.

Students raised questions about the election’s outcome and close margin of victory for business and political science sophomore and MSA president-elect Emma Olson and her running mate Ross Skattum, an anthropology junior.

“We definitely need to take into consideration some of the things that went wrong,” Emma Olson said, adding that she planned on making changes for next year’s elections.

“I really don’t think we should redo it,” she said of the current election. “When you think about it, we only have a week left of school and then finals.”

Throughout the election process, student voters faced technical difficulties that were exacerbated by last Wednesday’s bomb threat.

Critics of the elections claimed some voters were disenfranchised, though after review, the ACEC found results to be complete and accurate.

Kim said the ACEC met with Academic and Distributed Computing Services, which handled online voting.

Together, the ACEC and ADCS reviewed the complaints detailed in Nathan Olson’s recount request. Further investigation concluded all votes were counted fairly, and there were no missing or twice-counted votes.

Wednesday night, Kim presented Nathan Olson with the ACEC decision, which was reached after the committee weighed allegations against potential technical discrepancies.

But for Olson, the decision wasn’t enough. He said he will take the issue back to the commission, and possibly further, with the complaints he issued last week.

“We feel that the responses given were not adequate and don’t fully address the issues that were brought up,” Nathan Olson said. “We are prepared to take this to a higher authority Ö perhaps the vice provost office.”

A second process dealing with individual election-related complaints is expected to convene soon.

Voters and candidates could submit complaints to the ACEC until at 4 p.m. on Wednesday. Each complaint will be presented in its own hearing before the ACEC, in which plaintiffs and alleged rule violators can present their claims.

Since the hearings have not been scheduled, Kim said he could not discuss individual grievances.

“There have been complaints filed,” he said. “Some are valid, some are not.”

Ideally, the ACEC will hold its hearings before school ends, Kim said.