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Tuesday, September 30, 2014


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ASMSU voter turnout 9.2 percent despite troubled week




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From left, kinesiology senior Chelsea Ross, no preference freshman Shamaz Quince and no preference freshman Helen Adams, use an iPad to vote for ASMSU general assembly candidates at an ASMSU-hosted carnival April 7, 2013, in a parking lot adjacent to Breslin Center. The carnival was hosted to encourage undergraduate voters. Danyelle Morrow/The State News



The burden of low carnival attendance and the Ne-Yo concert cancellation turned out to play a small role in ASMSU’s election turnout — about the same percentage of students voted this year as last year.

ASMSU, MSU’s undergraduate student government, had 2,636 voters out of 28,628 eligible students, which equals a 9.2 percent voter turnout in this year’s elections, ASMSU Director of Public Relations Haley Dunnigan said.

This year’s turnout was fewer then last year’s 2,988 voters, but Dunnigan pointed out there were multiple organizations that had their tax renewal on the ballot last year that drew additional attention to the elections.

“Considering during last year’s election there were tax questions for the Residence Halls Association, MSU Radio Board and James Madison (College), those kind of issues tend to bring in a lot more attention,” Dunnigan said. “To see that we got 9.2 percent voter turnout is impressive and overall, ASMSU is very happy.”

Dunnigan also said she doesn’t believe the low carnival attendance and concert cancellation played a negative role in the voter turnout numbers.

The student government held its annual elections last week from April 7-15 where all undergraduate students were able to vote on their college representative, constitutional changes and the sophomore and senior class councils for the upcoming fall semester.

Fourteen undergraduate students were elected into general assembly representative positions, while 13 and 11 were elected to the sophomore and senior class councils, respectively.

Dunnigan confirmed there still are multiple vacant positions on the general assembly after the election week and will be open for the organization to appoint at a later date.

The State News previously reported a student tax increase would be on the ballot as well, but ASMSU President Evan Martinak said it was removed after deciding to push the safe ride program back.

The program would provide a free taxi service on weekend nights in East Lansing for any ASMSU-taxpaying student.

ASMSU will plan to use the upcoming academic year as a pilot program for the future safe-ride program, rather than the most recent plan of using the summer semester to run the pilot program.

“We will use next year as a full-year trial to really get it on speed before we assess any tax increase,” Martinak said.

Among the 14 elected general assembly members is mechanical engineering senior Christopher Baldwin, who will step into his first position with ASMSU as the College of Engineering representative. Baldwin is excited about the new position and is optimistic about making a change to the organization’s recent mistakes.

“The biggest thing I want to look at is the way they spend the student tax money and make sure we are putting it to better use to help students more,” Baldwin said. “My main goal is that when we do plan events for students, that we are planning ahead of time and decrease issues such as the ones (we) saw during the election week.”

ASMSU will begin its 50th session Thursday. Officer positions, such as the president and the many vice president positions, will be decided by the general assembly in a couple of weeks.


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