Protest ends in new election

Marquette College Democrats are set to hold a second election after a candidate in the previous election protested the outcome.

Sophomore Ryan Alexander, a student in the College of Arts & Sciences and president of Students for Dean, said the Marquette College Democrats failed to follow the rules in a recent election, causing a review of electoral methods and a call for another election.

The new election is scheduled for Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Alumni Memorial Union 252. All undergraduates who are not active Republicans are allowed to vote.

According to Alexander, he ran unopposed in the previous election until another candidate was nominated the day of the elections and won. Alexander contested the results and contacted the Wisconsin College Democrats for advice. Marquette College Democrats chair Ashley Russell, Alexander, WCD and Office of Student Development discussed several options and decided the best route to take would be to hold another election.

"I have the record of getting things done getting students involved in politics through Students for Dean," Alexander said. "What I really want for students on the Marquette campus is to know that they no longer have to tolerate having strong College Republicans on campus without a strong College Democrats."

Alexander said the e-mail sent out to all members of the College Democrats April 13 listed him as the only candidate for vice-chair. The e-mail listed all the nominees' names and statements for the positions of chair, secretary, treasurer and a public relations person in addition to vice-chair.

The College Democrats held their elections April 14 at the Olin Engineering Building at 6:30 p.m. According to Russell, the elections were originally scheduled for the Alumni Memorial Union 414, where the group usually meets. However, Russell said the secretary is new and failed to send out the correct information.

At the election, senior Meredith Salsbery, a student in the College of Arts & Sciences, was nominated to run for the position of vice-chair along with Alexander. Salsbery won the election with seven votes, according to Russell.

Marquette College Democrats have nominated candidates for positions through e-mail and at meetings for the past three years according to Russell. She said that might not have been clearly expressed when the e-mail went out to all the members.

Sophomre Michelle Pfister,a student in the College of Arts & Sciences who ran for secretary, said the election results were debatable because Alexander did not know the rules.

"The bottom line is that Ryan was not familiar with the election process and that is why he thinks the election turnouts were unfair," Pfister said.

Alexander opposed the election results and called upon the State College Democrats to help resolve the conflict.

Mike Pfohl, chair of the State College Democrats, said the first suggestion was to overturn the vote but a later recommendation called for a new office of co-vice-chair.

"The different parties needed someone to come in," Pfohl said. "They wanted some advice. All it really took was to sit down and talk to each other."

Russell said overturning the results was not fair to either candidate and creating position that seats two people is not correct according to the College Democrats' constitution. She discussed the issue with Pfohl and Pamela Larde, coordinator for student organizations and leadership at OSD, and decided a new election was the best solution.

"I feel bad that we made a mistake in the first place," Russell said. "I feel that we've addressed it in the best way possible."

Brandon Henak, president of College Republicans at Marquette, said he worked closely with Russell on previous projects and thinks this issue came at a bad time.

"It's unfortunate that they're having problems like that, especially considering they seem to have trouble staying active," Henak said.