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ISSUE 120 VOL 13 PUBLISHED 3/2/2007

Votes tallied

By Emily Koester
Contributing Writer

Friday, March 2, 2007

Thursday Feb. 22 was no ordinary election day. Though St. Olaf’s student elections are held annually, this year’s election, with 1,519 students casting their votes, showed a far bigger turn-out than usual. “That’s up by about two to three hundred votes from last year,” said Krista Siems ‘07, Political Awareness Committee (PAC) Chair and Election Committee Chair. Active and visible campaigning on the part of the candidates helped in boosting voter turnout.

The introduction of also played a role in increased voting by allowing students’ laptops to serve as their voting booths. Siems stated that not only provided quick vote-counts, but it gave students the convenience of voting from their rooms. Furthermore, reduced the need to wait around in lines. “It’s also nice to not have to count ballots by hand,” Siems said.

Not only was there an increase in voter turnout this year, but there was an increase in the number of candidates running. According to Siems, most years there are not enough candidates running to hold primaries; this year witnessed primaries for both the president/vice-president and Student Alumni Association (SAA) races. There was ample turnout for these primaries as well, though 290 fewer students voted in the primaries than in the final elections.

The winners for all positions in the final election were: Tyler Hauger ‘08 and Ishanaa Rambachan ‘08 for president and vice president, respectively; Laura Groggel ‘08 for PAC; Keshia Hohenstein ‘08 for Student Activities Coordinator (SAC); Justin Heebsh ‘08 and John Snetting ‘08 for Pause Coordinators; Katie Hellen ‘08 for SAA; Magdalena Wells ‘08 for Board of Regents Student Committee (BORSC); Victor Wong ‘08 for Volunteer Network (VN); Trisha Salkas ‘09 for Diversity Celebrations Committee (DCC); and Shoshana Blank ‘10 for Student Organizations Committee (SOC).

Many students seemed to attribute these candidates’ success to their very visible campaign. Emily Vigne ‘09 said that she gave her vote to Hauger and Rambachan because “their campaigning was not in-your-face, but was creative, concise and got the point across.”

John Bergan ‘08 was impressed with the candidates’ scope of government and student activity involvement, but also applauded their creativity. “They had that cool tent,” he said. “That was intense.”

Siems acknowledged that visible campaigning from all of the candidates, whether posters or sidewalk chalk, drew in the voters.

Candidates said that they found the campaign itself to be a valuable experience. Rambachan, the newly elected vice president, stated that it was “great to be so supported by friends,” and Hauger said that “to be placed in a bracket of people of that caliber was truly humbling.”

Karl Olson ‘08, a candidate in the presidential race, said that he developed “a great friendship and wonderful working style” with his running mate Maren Anderson ‘09, and that they both valued the opportunity to engage in honest and sincere conversations with students around campus.

Wong said that voter turn-out was great, though he wished more people had turned out to the forums in order to learn about candidates’ platforms.

Those newly elected now look ahead with excitement to the coming year. Groggel stated the she is “excited to be working with students who want to bring political awareness to campus.”

Even though the new terms do not begin until June, there is work to be done. “Our first deadlines are already coming up in March,” Rambachan said.

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