Election turnouts increase,

by Rebecca Czaplewski

Student apathy might be on the decline.
More students voted on Wednesday, the first of two days of the All-Campus Elections, than in both election days last year. However, the day wasn’t without controversy, as some Minnesota Student Association presidential candidates questioned the ethics of their competition’s election day tactics.
With more than 1,800 votes tallied by Wednesday evening, an increase in online voting is credited with the rise in figures; about 1,700 students voted online, while 120 were counted at the polls. Only 1,500 students voted during both days last year.
YeeLeng Hang, adviser for the All-Campus Elections Commission, said the combination of online voting and high publicity was a factor in the increase.
“I think it’s a good start,” Hang said. “Maybe the students are finally concerned.”
Although the ACEC planned for 10 polling stations to be set up across campus, voters were only able to use four locations due to computer difficulties at the other stations.
Hang said the problems will be fixed and the stations will be available for voters today.
Some MSA presidential candidates were upset when Sarah Afshar and her running mate, Mike Franklin, gave away pizza and set up a computer for online voting at the Superblock.
With campaign members — one wearing a chicken suit — in tow, the pair talked to nearby students and let them use the personal computer to vote.
Although some opponents questioned the ethics of the event, Afshar backed it up as an attempt to get students out to vote — regardless of who they voted for.
“We acknowledged that there’s a low voter turnout, and the ACEC said it’s up to the candidates to make sure voters get out there,” Afshar said. “I’m very sure that not everyone is voting for us — that’s fine, too.”
Afshar said a campaign member’s computer was used to vote and personal donations paid for the pizzas.
The candidates were not in violation of campaign rules, Hang said.
However, he said concerned candidates can submit written complaints to the ACEC, which are then turned over to the Campus Involvement Center. Presidential candidates Brett Rowlett and Jared Christiansen have filed complaints.
“It’s not a sanctioned polling site because it’s set up with an individual’s computer,” Hang said. “As long as the students can vote for who they want to vote for, it’s not in violation.”
While he approved of trying to get more students to vote, presidential candidate Ben Bowman said he wasn’t happy with Afshar and Franklin’s giveaway.
“It says something about the student apathy on campus,” Bowman said.
Some students at the Superblock said the stunt didn’t change their vote.
“It maybe did for people who aren’t informed,” said Sara Pesola, a freshman in the College of Liberal Arts. “I’ve already made my decisions.”