Election results show higher voter turnout, next year plans begin

Student Government office in the Atwood Memorial Center.
Student Government office in the Atwood Memorial Center.

A total of 641 ballots were counted for Student Government elections at St. Cloud State, showing an increase from last year, where there were only 307 total responses for presidential elections.

There are 14,182 eligible voters on campus, which means that 4.52 percent of eligible voting students made it to the polls, according to a statement from Student Government.

Even with the election results showing an increase, changes to Student Government’s Constitution can’t be made without at least 8 percent of the student body voting, explained Summer Vogl, president of the organization.

That means the GPA increase for members of Student Government’s executive board won’t be enacted. But, this year’s turnout was still enough to appoint candidates to their positions for next year.

The breakdown

  • 361 votes (58.2%) went to Johnson-Olson
  • 236 votes (38.1%) went to Mitchell-Kennedy
  • 1 vote (.001%) went to Neuman-Maskey
  • 22 votes (3.5%) went to no candidates

For Senators At-Large

  • Emily McCallson – 327 votes
  • Madeline McLeod – 302 votes
  • Kayla Shelley – 297 votes
  • Madison Winterquist – 297 votes
  • Jacob Schmitt – 287 votes
  • Ashley Vieau – 281 votes
  • Samuel A. Johnson – 276 votes
  • Sehyun Hwang – 276 votes
  • Jack O’Neil-Como – 266 votes
  • Andrea Bryson – 265 votes
  • Brian Richter – 265 votes
  • Enerel Bayandalai – 248 votes
  • Robbie Krahmer – 10 votes
  • Rinku Khadka – 9 votes
  • Scott Jabs – 8 votes
  • Jesse Simons – 4 votes

The referendum questions on the ballot surrounded the MnSCU Alcohol Policy and the GPA qualifications for Student Government’s executive board. Do you support changing the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) policy prohibiting alcohol on campus to allow St. Cloud State to set its own alcohol policy on campus?

  • Yes: 448 votes (69%)
  • No: 148 votes (23.2%)
  • No Answer: 43 votes (6.7%)

Given the shortfall of voter turnout, the policy won’t be initiated. However, Vogl said the data collected at the polling stations will be taken to the administration to show what this percentage of the student population thinks around the issue.

By letting St. Cloud State have its own alcohol policy, Vogl said it would help to offset some of the cost to students. Not enough to bring back cut programs, but to help take away some of the student fees that are in place, she said.

This could benefit the university, she said, but added, “We can’t let the culture go back to what it was,” referring to St. Cloud being known as a party school.

The second question was on raising the GPA requirement. Vogl was in favor for the increase, explaining that sometimes student struggle with their GPA when entering a leadership role. She said it’s a way to show leadership and set an example for other students to follow, giving them a chance to prepare and avoid potential issues when leading a student organization.

Should St. Cloud State Student Government raise the minimum GPA requirements for the President, Vice President, Chief Justice, Executive Assistant, and all internal Committee Chairs of Student Government for 2.0 to 2.5?

  • Yes: 464 votes (72.5%)
  • No: 127 votes (19.8%)
  • No Answer: 49 votes (7.7%)

After the elections came to a close, Vogl said the organization began planning for next year right away. This year, she said the polling stations being placed around campus played a role in getting students engaged, which is planned to happen again for next year. But to help get people to the polls, she said they’ve talked about limiting voting to one day to encourage a sense of urgency.

With that, the campaigns are expected to ramp up too. She said the entire executive board will help run the campaigns. And for next year, Student Government also wants to take away fall elections, so that the organization can focus on spring elections.

This story has been updated since it was first published April 13, 2016. 

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