The Michigan Vision Party won a majority of open seats in the Michigan Student Assembly’s election that ended at 11:59 p.m. last night.

Voter participation in the election remained steady over last year, despite expectations from officials that turnout would rise.

Fourteen different colleges held elections for a total of 36 open seats, including 11 open LSA seats, seven open Rackham seats and four open Engineering seats. Students could only vote for candidates in their own college.

Of the 17 seats with available results at 2:15 a.m. this morning, 11 were filled by MVP candidates, two by Defend Affirmative Action Party candidates and four by independent candidates.

The remaining winners need to be validated by election officials either because the student won by write-in voters or because voters cast ballots for schools that were not their own.

The 11 open LSA seats were filled by nine MVP candidates, one DAAP candidate and one independent candidate.

Of the two open Business seats, MSA Rep. Jason Raymond was re-elected as an independent, and MVP candidate Thomas Stuckey filled the other seat.

LSA senior John Lin, message chair of MVP, said last night’s gains show students approve of the party’s actions.

“We came out last year and we said we would make the assembly more efficient and more transparent,” Lin said. “It’s not there yet but we’re definitely on that track and students have seen that.”

Though election officials and MSA representatives hoped for a high voter turnout, 3,565 students out of an eligible 39,671 students — roughly 9 percent of the voting population — cast ballots in this election, according to MSA Election Director Emily Winter.

This was a slight decrease from the 9.6 percent of the student voting population that voted in MSA elections last fall. Both years were a major increase over the 5.3 percent of the student voting population that took part in the Fall 2007 election.

Winter attributed the lower voter turnout to the timing of the elections right after the Thanksgiving break.

She said she had planned on advertising the election with a link to the voting website on the desktop of all campus computers but the logos were not created in time for Information and Technology Services to implement it.

“It’s something that ITS agreed to do and unfortunately we couldn’t get a logo put together in time for it to get it set up,” she said.

The election had been rescheduled for this week after the original dates — Nov. 18 and 19 — were deemed in violation of the MSA Compiled Code.

MSA members acknowledged prior to the election the difficulty of holding an election immediately following Thanksgiving break, since candidates weren’t able to campaign as much immediately before the election.

MSA President Abhishek Mahanti said the voter turnout is good when the holiday is taken into consideration.

“I’m happy with the way we did. I think the Thanksgiving holiday is definitely hard to overcome in terms of people’s schedules,” he said. “The fact that we had really good candidates for the elections helped voter turnout.”

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