Student Government Association election postponed due to ballot inaccuracies
April 19, 2017
Inaccuracies in the Student Government Association (SGA) election ballot have caused the voting process to start over, with students having to re-submit their ballots.
On Monday, April 17, a ballot was published on the SGA FalconSync page for the student body to vote for members of the SGA, including student body president and vice president, for the following academic year. Students also have the opportunity to vote on two referendums to pass the creation of the Greenovation Fund and the Student Shared Governance Modernization Act.
Inaccuracies on the ballot included names of candidates being left off and incorrect instructions when it came to how many at-large senators students could vote for.
The election, which was originally intended to run from April 17-21, has now been postponed, with the release of the ballot soon to be determined. Students who have already filled out the form on FalconSync will have to re-submit their ballot in order for their vote to count.
The Oversight and Rules Committee is responsible for the election, including setting the date and duration of the election and the language used for the referendums. The Chair of the committee, Dana Redlin, is responsible for carrying out and overseeing the election. In doing so, she receives a $1,000 compensation.
Redlin declined to comment.
Several SGA candidates expressed their concern and disappointment regarding the issues on the ballot and the postponement of the election.
“It’s unfortunate, but I think it’s been nice having the continuous support throughout this campaign from students and them being very understanding of this,” said Zain Kaiser, a candidate for student body president and vice president.
Abby Wendt, student body president candidate and current Allocable Fee Appropriation Board (AFAB) chair, said that she believes the election starting over will affect voter turnout overall, although she understands why it’s necessary step.
“It will just be a lot more work for the candidates to tell our voting public that they will have the opportunity to vote and that they have to vote again,” said Wendt. “It’s disappointing, especially since we thought it would go so well, but at least we now have the extended time for voting. It’s just having people go out there again and vote.”
The Student Senate will be holding a special session in order to discuss how to properly deal with the mistakes of the Oversight and Rules Committee.
In a statement published to the SGA Facebook page Wednesday morning, Student Body President Chris Morgan urged members of the Senate to create legislation to suspend the role of the committee to approve the election ballot and to grant temporary emergency power to Senate Advisor Gregg Heinselman.
“It is clear that those who have been tasked and compensated to perform this role have failed to do so,” said Morgan in the statement, “in so, to the students at UW-River Falls, I promise that I will use the remainder of my term to hold these individuals accountable as well as implement the appropriate reforms that will insure proper elections in the future.”
Both Morgan and Heinselman declined to speak further on the issue.
The special session will be held on Sunday, April 23 at 8 p.m. in the Willow River Room of the University Center.