More votes, more validity

The strong student election turnout increases government legitimacy.

Last weekâÄôs Minnesota Student Association presidential election recorded votes from more than 14 percent of undergraduates, or 3,549 students. This is more than four times last yearâÄôs turnout, when only 844 students voted for MSA president. There were also more candidates running than in previous years; last year, one candidate ran uncontested. All of this is indicative of a more active and engaged student body, one that cares about the University of Minnesota and wants to take part in University decisions. This dramatic increase in student voter turnout lends more weight to MSAâÄôs dealings with University decision-makers and shows that shared governance proposals are to be taken seriously. Student opinion is more easily dismissed or overlooked when there are no repercussions for doing so. However, when a significant number of students demonstrate they understand their stake in the issues and are willing to take action, University decision-makers have cause to take student opinion into account. We would like to take this time to congratulate the next MSA president and vice president, Sarah Shook and Brandon Cofield. This level of turnout should give them the clout and confidence to stand up for student interests. It should also be a call to action for student leaders and administrators alike; the relatively high turnout speaks to studentsâÄô discontent with the UniversityâÄôs direction. Students should continue to expand their interest in University affairs; their tuition now forms the base of the UniversityâÄôs funding. Concerned students can share their ideas and opinions with the MSA or join the body itself next fall. The road to political empowerment does not end, but rather begins, with a vote.