Following a barrage of e-mails from the Michigan Student Assembly during the last two weeks encouraging students to vote, the virtual voting booth for elections opened at midnight last night. Only a few students, however, know exactly how the process for MSA elections actually works.

Student General Counsel Michael Benson said students vote for candidates running within their own school or college.

“If you’re a student in LSA, you can vote for MSA representatives, your LSA student government representatives, as well as the executives for both LSA student government and MSA,” Benson said.

MSA elections are conducted through a system of weighted voting, where candidates win based on the number of points they receive. Students’ first choice candidate receives three points, their second choice two points, and their third choice one point.

The MSA Constitution states that there should be one representative for every 850 students. Half the MSA representatives are elected in November, and the other half in March, when executive positions are filled.

Benson said the results of the election will be available immediately after the voting ends at 11:59 p.m. tomorrow, but that the results won’t be official until Sunday at 6 p.m.

The election board consists of both MSA members and nonmembers. After the board meets, 12 hours are allotted for appeals. The board will meet on Friday.

The new representatives, new vice president and president are formally seated during an MSA meeting on the Tuesday following the election, as long as no issues are raised concerning the validity election.

“If there are issues, then it would go the Central Student Judiciary. They can delay the seating of representatives,” Benson said.

This happened after last fall’s election, when there was a controversy concerning graduate students who voted for both Rackham representatives and their own school’s representatives. Seating was delayed a week while the votes were properly allocated. In the end, the reallocation did not change the results.

“For exactly this reason, the information on every student’s vote is stored. The MSA Election Board does not have access to this information unless results are questioned,” Benson said.

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