Postponed student elections raise concerns

Those who were ready to cast their vote for student elections this year are going to have to hold on until next week.
On Monday, SCSU’s Student Government ran into “technical difficulties,” when attempting to launch the ballot online that will allow St. Cloud State students to vote for the upcoming elections, according to student body president Lindsey Gunnerson. Gunnerson said that part of the system that was housing the ballot went down, making it only accessible through Internet Explorer but inaccessible if used through Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari. In order to assure that the ballot will be easily accessible, SCSU’s Student Government decided to delay elections until next week beginning Monday, Nov. 24, and will be open until Wednesday, Nov. 26.
Though a delay does not by any means declare a cancellation of the election, the postponing of the ballot does raise concerns with the elections falling under the same week as Thanksgiving. With voter turnout being as low as it has been in the past, last election being at a mere five percent, St. Cloud States student government has made it a point to bump up numbers this election.
“We have an item on the ballot that asks people what services they want their student fees to pay for. Basically if you want to really save a program or service, we need students to let us know,” Gunnerson said. “This is their shot to have their voices heard on a very serious issue. We will be using this information as part of our budget cut discussion this coming spring.”
Apart from senator elections, there are other important issues on the ballot, including a change in the delegation of student fees, weapons on campus and a new student government constitution and student bill of rights.
“We are expecting a higher turn out for this election than we usually see in the fall,” Gunnerson said.
This year’s ballot will have topics that could potentially change the way student fees are delegated in the future.
In addition to the student fee referendum, the conceal and carry referendum is also up for vote. Currently, MnSCU has implemented a ban for students and staff to carry a weapon even if one has a license to conceal and carry, but that restriction does not hold jurisdiction for visitors that may come to campus.
“As the MnSCU policy is currently written, students and employees are not allowed to carry hand guns on campus if they have a permit to carry. However, visitors are allowed. We wish to get the students’ opinion has to whether the policy needs to be changed for student and employee safety,” Gunnerson said.
The student government constitution and student bill of rights is up for re-election. The referendum failed to make it into law last election due to the fact that it fell short on votes, which can be correlated somewhat to the low voter turnout of the previous elections.
In the beginning of the academic year, in an interview with student body vice president Alex Bryson, he had mentioned that he would make it a point to achieve greater student body involvement.
“We’re not doing our job if we’re not getting the word out and not encouraging students to vote,” Bryson said. “ I really don’t think it’s their [student body’s] fault I really think it comes down on us and I think that’s something we can directly control, and you can’t force everyone to vote but you can make everyone aware and make a change in that aspect.”
St. Cloud State students will be able to see if the work of Gunnerson and Bryson has paid off on the evening of the 26 when the results of the election are released. Ballots will be distributed to all students via student email on Monday the 24.
“The ballot is quick and easy to fill out. Two minutes of each students’ time will really make a difference in future decisions and action our organization takes,” Gunnerson said.
With claims that the ballot will take minutes for students to complete and with SCSU’s Student Government working hard to assure that the technical issues are resolved, voters should have no issues voting for the important topics that will help change the future of the campus of SCSU.

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