Polls for MSA election open as remaining slates wait

Polling locations, which are a new election feature, might increase voter turnout.

Since voting for the Missouri Students Association presidential election began Monday, the campaigns of Tom Wright/Bo Mahr and Nick Droege/Zach Beattie have been settling in these last few days of the election.

The third slate, Spencer Maass/Shelby Catalano, has not been allowed to campaign since it was issued a second major infraction by the Board of Elections Commissioners on Oct. 30, according to a previous Maneater article. The slate will still remain on the ballot.

During voting, Wright/Mahr has drawn up a two-part strategy for the final days of campaigning. The first part is an attempt to secure what Wright called the slate's base vote, which he defined as the potential voters the slate knows through friendships, clubs, organizations and the campaign trail.

“After that, we’ve got to try and bring in people who wouldn’t normally vote, so we’ve registered polling locations approved by the BEC outside Pavilion at Dobbs, Plaza 900, in Speakers Circle and outside the MU Student Center,” Wright said.

At this point, presidential nominee Droege said he thinks campaigning is no longer a factor because that’s what the last two months of this election have been about.

The Droege/Beattie slate said it feels confident about its efforts so far but agrees anything can still happen. The decision is in the voter’s hands now, Droege said.

“The most important thing is that everyone votes based on the person they think will do the best job,” Droege said. “If that happens, I’ll be happy.”

The slate, like Wright/Mahr, has taken advantage of the polling locations it's been allowed to set up on campus. Starting Tuesday, Droege/Beattie will have polls open on Lowry Mall, in Speakers Circle, at the corner of Cornell Hall, inside the west entrance of the MU Student Recreation Complex and in front of the MU Student Center.

The ability for slates to set up a maximum of five polling locations outside prominent areas on campus is a change from previous elections, BEC Chairman Tyler Ricketts said. Students will be able to vote at the locations positioned around campus and also online at vote.missouri.edu.

The inclusion of polling locations might increase voter turnout this election since they give students a greater opportunity to vote, Ricketts said. The BEC will also have a polling location outside Memorial Union.

As part of its punishment for receiving a second major infraction, Maass/Catalano is unable to take advantage of the polling locations.

As the election winds down, Wright and Mahr are preparing for a hectic Tuesday and Wednesday spent manning the polls between classes and raising awareness of their platform in the last few days, Wright said.

“Hopefully we’ll be outside from 3 p.m. until 6 or 7 p.m. on Tuesday and pretty much all day Wednesday,” Wright said.

Despite their efforts, Wright and Mahr have conceded they’re the underdogs in this election but are strong ones, Wright said.

Droege and Beattie know once the polls are open, the election is no longer in their hands, but they have had no regrets during the process, Droege said.

“As long as people are informed and they think the person they’re voting for is the best candidate, then I think the election served its purpose,” Droege said.

Voting ends at 6 p.m Wednesday.

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