SA election grievance leads to voting extension

Siglin vs. Finck

Following the results of the Students’ Association election last week, Caleb Finck and Matt Dahle announced a grievance had been filed. The committee made up of SA advisers reviewed the grievance and decided to grant an extended voting period. 

According to the statement issued by Sam Jennings II, dean of students and an SA adviser, an extended voting period will take place Tuesday, April 7 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Students who did not vote in the original two days of the election will have the opportunity to vote online or at a voting station in The Union. 

The votes filed in the original election will remain counted as originally cast, only students who did not vote will have the opportunity to vote in the extended period. 

“We’re pleased to see the outcome, we are very happy with the action that the advisers have recommended that we proceed with, it will maintain all of the votes that have been cast already…” Finck said, “It gives us a chance to engage more students on campus and I think that’s a very positive thing to move forward…being able to have a shot at being able to engage even more students is a really positive thing for everyone.”

The election gathered just over 20 percent of students’ votes, which was a record breaking amount of votes in recent years, Doug Wermedal, vice president of Student Affairs said.

“It is in our best interest to go out and reach those students who either didn’t have the opportunity to vote or forgot to vote,” Dahle said.

As released in their statement following the grievance announcement, Siglin and Sutton thanked the SA advisers for their “hard work and deliberation throughout this entire election.”

Siglin and Sutton released the following statement:

“We appreciate them hearing the cases of both tickets, and ultimately deciding that as they could not prove either argument ultimately affected the outcome of the election, the best way to move forward is to call upon the students to exercise civic duties via voting. We look forward to the opportunity to further engage students and to prove to them that our hard work and dedication to them will not waiver. We’ve been campaigning for nearly two months to prove our desire to lead and represent each student, and we hope that they will  provide us the support needed to do so on Tuesday April 7th, 2015 on the final voting day of the SDSU Students’ Association Elections.”

The SA bylaws state that the advisory committee was given five days following the election to make a decision. According to Wermedal, the committee needed to meet twice. Once to clarify the process of conducting a grievance review, and second to make a final decision on the consequences of the grievance. 

The bylaws gave a variety of outcome examples, but the ultimate decision is up to the advisers discretion, Finck said.

Dahle and Finck originally filed the grievance March 23 with Doug Wermedal, vice president of Student Affairs. The grievance claimed that the opposing ticket, Olivia Siglin and Jacob Sutton did not adhere to the solicitation policy stated in the South Dakota State University Housing and Residential Life Residential Handbook, Finck said. 

The release of the details of the grievance is up to the discretion of the candidates who filed, Wermedal said. Finck and Dahle chose not to disclose the details of their grievance.

Based on the voting counts released by SA in the original election, Siglin and Sutton received 952 votes and Finck and Dahle received 947, leaving a five vote gap between the two. 

Between information sent out by SA and the two parties reaching out to students, Finck doesn’t foresee any issues with getting the word out about the extended voting period.

Final counts should be expected the evening of April 7 following the close of the voting period, Finck said.