MSA voter turnout significantly lower compared to previous years

7,045 fewer people voted this year compared to last year.
Then-MSA presidential candidates Julia Wopata and Robert Schmidt answer questions during the second and final executive debate on April 12, 2018.

In this year’s Missouri Students Association presidential election, 1,503 people voted. 170 voted for the “Mizzou for You” slate and 1,333 voted for “More to Roar.”

Robert Schmidt and Alp Kahveci were the candidates for the “Mizzou for You” campaign and Julia Wopata and Connor McAteer ran under the “More to Roar” campaign. “Mizzou for You” focused on increasing student input on MSA’s budget, while “More to Roar” focused on advocating for mental health.

The presidential election last year had the largest turnout in MSA history, with over 8,000 votes. The 7,045-vote difference is due in part to the fact that this year’s election was a special election, senate speaker Jacob Addington said.

“Turnout was significantly lower this year because the campaigning was over a shorter time frame relative to last year, and the election likely looked like there was only one choice,” Board of Elections Commissioners chair Joseph Sell said. “Last year, Tori and Riley v. Nathan and Payton looked to be a much more contentious election with two slates who were widely connected and involved.”

The special election was called for after the suspension of the previous election after controversial tweets from each of the respective slates were uncovered.

MSA presidential elections aren’t the only ones experiencing low voter turnout. In the MSA spring senatorial elections, only around 90 students voted. This is compared to almost 600 in the fall, though this is due in part to more seats being open.

Also, only 66 students voted in this year’s Residence Halls Association elections compared to around 600 students last year.

“Given that we only had one slate this year, we unfortunately didn't have the publicity of a campaign race, and most residents only received voting info through their housing coordinators,” Former RHA Chief Justice Noah McCarty said in an email. “Our numbers reflect that pretty heavily.”

Sell said that many students have a negative view of MSA, and that has also had an impact on voter turnout.

“There is a general feeling around Mizzou, that has been increasing over my time here, that MSA doesn't do anything for the students except take [their] money and spend it on things that don't make Mizzou better,” Sell said in an email. “MSA has began to feel less like students advocating to make Mizzou better, but instead feels like students looking for a resume builder. It doesn't help that MSA looks like an elitist organization comprised of mostly students who can invest time into this org instead of classes or working actual jobs.”

Edited by Morgan Smith |

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