MSA requests new rules for elections

by Parker Lemke

The commission in charge of overseeing the University of Minnesota’s all-campus student elections could overhaul some of the rules and procedures in place for future elections.
The changes were requested by the Minnesota Student Association. 
“We saw a lack of integrity in this year’s process,” said MSA president Joelle Stangler, who was elected to a second term in April. “That’s really concerning to the validity of future elections.” 
Stangler said the All-Campus Elections Commission failed to inform all of this year’s candidates of extended deadlines for endorsing candidates during the election and that a deadline for when candidates could withdraw was not equally applied.
MSA presidential candidate Prahith Chakka took his name off the ballot the day before voting started.
The commission extended the deadline for endorsements when concerns were raised about the process not being clear, said the group’s adviser Syressa Lewis.
She added that the extension was not communicated well to all candidates.
The candidate withdrawal deadline was implemented when students voted on paper ballots, Lewis said, so it might not be necessary since the elections moved to an online format. 
Stangler’s opponents also said the election had its fair share of problems.
Throughout the election, former MSA presidential candidate Henry Benson and his running mate Cameron Holl said they saw a lot of personal attacks directed at their campaign.
Volunteers from their campaign also have filed a complaint with ACEC alleging that members of Stangler’s campaign team recklessly drove a golf cart while campaigning.
Stangler said the allegation has no basis.
The complaint is still being investigated, said commission member Zackary Leslie.
Moving forward, ACEC will work to be more transparent and aim to meet the needs of all candidates and the student body, Lewis said. The group, which evaluates its work each spring, sometimes faces difficulties because it brings in new commissioners each year, she added.
“Our job is to facilitate the elections as best as possible and kind of conduct them how the student organizations that we serve kind of want them to look like,” Leslie said.