Referendum year coincides with elections

Cody Boyer

While candidates are campaigning for positions on ASNMU’s Assembly, the election ballots will also include voting information for this year’s referendum.

Starting on Monday, April 7, ASNMU referendum elections will be taking their place alongside the candidate’s bids for student governmental position, addressing student organization requests and possible ASNMU constitution changes.

Adam Papin, chairman of the referendum committee and senior furniture design major, said the primary article on the referendum ballot pertains to The North Wind independent student newspaper.

“The main referendum issue is [The North Wind],” Papin said. “The changes ASNMU are requesting reflect outdated language in their constitution and as a result are largely procedural in nature, bring it concurrent with changes that have already taken place. However, these changes still need to be formally approved by the student body. Thus, they are on the ballot.”

Over the past months, the referendum committee has been discussing the Direct Allocation Groups at Northern Michigan University, including Radio X, The North Wind, ASNMU and Student Finance Committee. According to the referendum committee, The North Wind will appear on the ballot asking for a 16-cent increase to the Student Activity Fee.

Abby Roche, ASNMU vice president and junior public relations major, said the items on the referendum portion of the ballot just deal with changes in constitutional language and procedural changes.

“The whole assembly has been kept right in the loop of everything that is happening,” Roche said. “Everything that is going to be changed, other than the Student Activity Fee changes, has to do with the ASNMU constitution. Everything there is just to make it more readable and to clarify information. All of the changes are clarifiers. There is nothing that is going to change how we work.”

According to the referendum committee, eight referendum-related sub-questions will be located on the ballot, including one question pertaining to a Student Activity Fee change for the benefit of a student organization and seven questions detailing ASNMU constitution revisions. People will have the option to vote on a single question pertaining to all of the changes.

The first sub-question states the increase will help The North Wind “fund a $1 increase in writers’ pay” and will help the staff lease “one additional computer for editorial work.” The following eight sub-questions ask questions related to revisions in ASNMU’s constitution and language, including narrowing terms like “general assembly” down to “assembly.”

Another sub-question asks voters for a change stating “persons appointed by the Assembly may be removed by a three-fourths affirmative vote of the Assembly, without the need of impeachment and review of the ASNMU Judiciary.”

Roche said some of the minor roles and categories located within ASNMU could be cleaned up to make understanding their constitution easier.

“Basically what is being changed is that we are just basically taking out secretaries and sub-committees,” Roche said. “We have found that those are relatively obsolete at this point.  [The changes] are just dealing with things that are either miswritten the first time or are happening because our practices have changed and we are just streamlining it across the board.”

The referendum ballot also offers voters options to vote for a change to the constitution, which states “the President may call a general assembly of the student body.”

Other questions ask for changes pertaining to the nominations of ASNMUJ members, when ballots will be made effective following candidate presentations and other Assembly rules.

According to Roche, the physical act of voting has also been cleaned up this year to make voting easier to do.

“It’s really simple,” Roche said. “You have to login so you are only allowed to vote once. You can do it from your personal laptop or smart-device. We are not going to have voting stations this year. We’ve done that before, but people weren’t able to really take advantage of them.”

Election ballots including the referendum question list will be available from noon Monday, April 7 to noon Wednesday, April 9.

Once voting begins, prospective voters who are in good standing with NMU will receive an email containing direct links to ballots and can also visit the ASNMU website.

For more information about ASNMU election dates or constitution details, visit www.nmu.edu/asnmu.