With lack of presidential candidates, PSG granted extension to continue search

A request to extend candidate filing deadlines was approved on Tuesday morning.

Left to right, Michael Blomquist, Sumee Lee, Max Hall and Dane Thompson gather onstage for the Professional Student Government presidential and vice presidential candidate debate on Wednesday in the Coffman Union Theater.

Daily File Photo

Left to right, Michael Blomquist, Sumee Lee, Max Hall and Dane Thompson gather onstage for the Professional Student Government presidential and vice presidential candidate debate on Wednesday in the Coffman Union Theater.

by David Clarey

Professional Student Government may still lack a candidate, but a deadline extension gives those considering more time.

PSG requested that the University of Minnesota’s All Campus Election Committee extend the deadline for candidate filing and voting, which, as of Tuesday night said would not be granted. But on Wednesday morning the ACEC decided to grant the extension, citing the lack of executive candidates meriting special consideration. The deadline is now Feb. 26.

While PSG still lacks a formal candidate for president, meaning the executive positions would be decided by write-in votes, the extension gives the organization more time to find candidates.

“We just felt it was important to give PSG an attempt to try and fill those executive positions,” said Tommy Keller, ACEC co-chair and organizational liaison.

Keller said the decision was changed after continued discussion. He said the ACEC didn’t feel pressured by PSG or others to make the decision.

ACEC plans to hold discussions with PSG after the election to find ways to avoid situations like this in the future, Keller said.

Neither PSG or the ACEC has heard of interested candidates.

The ACEC delivered a tentative election timeline to student leaders in November, Keller said.

The deadline was changed to be earlier to mirror other universities, and the committee has emphasized that student governments are responsible for recruiting candidates, he said.

Max Hall, president of PSG previously said that he thinks the earlier deadlines discouraged people from running. ACEC had discussed potentially moving candidate information sessions to before winter break, allowing potential candidates more time to decide.

Keller said issues recruiting enough members to ACEC made that unfeasible.

In addition, Keller has previously told the Daily that he doesn’t think ACEC’s changes to the election schedule has affected turnout.

On Tuesday, Keller said the request was originally denied due to fairness concerns.

“We didn’t feel that it would be fair to other people running for other positions to just grant an extension for only PSG,” Keller said.

Graduate and professional student governments have historically had low turnout for presidential candidates.

The Council of Graduate Students has had three straight unopposed elections and PSG has had one in the last three years.

In its last year before it split into COGS and PSG, the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly had two candidates in 2014. In 2013, three candidates filed but two withdrew before the election.