MSA OKs runoff voting

MSA passed an amendment to elect presidents with a new system.

Chad Hamblin

The Minnesota Student Association voted on voting Tuesday.

MSA passed an amendment to its constitution to elect future presidents with instant runoff voting, which uses a ranking system to elect a candidate. If a person’s first choice receives the lowest popular vote, that candidate is removed from the running and the person’s second choice is used instead.

Last year’s MSA Forum speaker, Marty Andrade, who is also a Minnesota Daily columnist, encouraged Forum members to vote for the amendment despite his strong opposition to it last year.

“As far as I’m concerned, (instant runoff voting) should already be in our constitution,” he said.

One reason Andrade said the amendment should be ratified is because it already has technically passed.

Last year, the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group collected approximately 3,000 student signatures to amend MSA’s constitution to use instant runoff voting, Forum member Shaun Laden said. After that amendment appeared on the election ballot last spring, 76 percent of voting students voted for it, which should have ratified it, he said.

Still, the amendment is not currently in MSA’s constitution. Several Forum members said it was because the All-Campus Elections Commission – the group that oversees many elections on campus – declared the vote “nonbinding” because of a technicality. Laden said it could have been last year’s MSA speaker’s decision to ratify the amendment.

Forum member Fahad Siddiqui said he thought most people who voted for instant runoff voting in the spring had no idea what it was.

Laden said he was happy the amendment passed.

“The students have already spoken,” he said. “Had we voted against this, we would have been in direct violation of our constitution.”

The amendment is not final until students vote on it again this spring. A majority of the student vote is required to amend the MSA constitution.

Also at the MSA meeting, Forum members approved stipends for certain Forum members.

The Stipend Review Committee voted to give the full amount of stipends to every member entitled to one. The money awarded was for this semester only, and the next half will be awarded next semester.