MSA candidates revealed

Bryce Haugen

Undergraduate students will have five choices for next year’s student body president.

The All-Campus Elections Commission finalized the Minnesota Student Association presidential election ballot Tuesday. To compete in the April 13 and 14 elections, campaigns needed to submit 450 student endorsements by Monday.

Candidates said that they have scoured campus in the last few weeks seeking student endorsements. Campaigns found willing endorsers at student group meetings, on the streets and through the commission’s Web site, candidates said.

“We went out of our way to find people we don’t ordinarily talk to,” presidential candidate Rubens Feroz said.

Presidential candidate Emily Serafy Cox said she gathered signatures in part through connections with politically oriented students.

“It wasn’t terribly difficult,” she said. “It was definitely work.”

But Cox said, “Signing your (endorsement) sheet doesn’t mean they’ll vote for you.”

One campaign, led by presidential candidate Brian Edstrom, didn’t collect enough signatures to make it on the ballot.

“We’re just lazy. We didn’t like talking to people, and quite frankly, we had a lot of homework to do,” Edstrom said.

Adam Engelman, All-Campus Elections Commission co-commissioner, said the group hopes to increase voter turnout, even with fewer candidates to spread the word.

Last year, when seven candidates competed, only 4,420 – out of nearly 27,000 – undergraduates voted. But 1,300 more students participated last year than in 2003.

“It’s imperative that people go out and vote, because these are the people that are going to be fighting for (students),” Engelman said.

The commission will host a get-out-the-vote rally April 14 in front of Coffman Union, the final day of the two-day voting period.

Engelman said the commission also hopes to avoid the scandal that marred last year’s election.

In April, a co-commissioner admitted to leaking results on the first day of the two-day election. Some candidates claimed election winner Tom Zearley’s campaign used the leaked results to affect the close final outcome.

This year, commission adviser Margaret Cahill will be the only person with access to the results, Engelman said.

Besides the presidential race, students will vote for MSA Forum members, University senators and several other positions.

Engelman said these additional elections aren’t nearly as competitive as the presidential race because there are approximately as many candidates as available positions.