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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Megan Voorhees
Megan Voorhees
Assistant News Editor

Hi! I’m Megan Voorhees and I’m the Assistant News Editor at The Northwind! I was first introduced to journalism my sophomore year of high school and I’ve been in love with the profession and writing...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Opinion — Its okay to outgrow your college friends
Opinion — It's okay to outgrow your college friends
Megan PoeApril 12, 2024

Voter turnout a record low

With 208 votes, ASNMU’s 2016 election has continued on the downward trend in voter turnout, according to digital records dating back to 2002.

“In instances where there’s an uncontested election, voter turnout is low,” Katie Liubakka, head of ASNMU elections committee, voting

Nine students ran for general assembly and electoral board positions, none of whom were contested for their positions. Liubakka said  students don’t necessarily feel the need to vote when it’s not going to make a large impact.

“It’s like, ‘why would I vote in an election where the results are already determined?’” Liubakka said.

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But Tristan Ruiz and Xavier Pete-Dye, who are going to be the new president and vice president respectively, were not always uncontested. Junior English secondary education major Alaina Pepin was running for president of ASNMU with running mate Jason Chenette, a junior English writing major. Pepin and Chenette officially dropped out of the race on Monday, April 11, citing concerns over questions asked during the debate held the previous Friday, April 8.  During the audience portion of the debate, technical questions were asked pertaining specifically to the inner workings of ASNMU that only current members would fully understand, Pepin said. These questions seemed to be asked to specifically highlight that their campaign was coming from outside of ASNMU, she said.

“I think that the current members of ASNMU think that to run for such a high position in ASNMU you should have the experience before hand,” Pepin said.

Being a current member of ASNMU is not  a requirement for running for office.

“Change can be scary, especially from people who come from the outside,” Pepin said.

Ruiz, who is being sworn into office Wednesday, April 20, agreed there was some pushback from  ASNMU members  was because they were uncertain of Chenette and Pepin’s experience.

“They like having someone who’s at least a semester into general assembly so they have a little bit of experience,” Ruiz said. “So when you take office you don’t spend a lot of time trying to learn how to be whatever position you are.”

“We felt that we would have been able to work within the confines of ASNMU and push it forward,” Chenette said.

There was animosity shown by ASNMU members, including those on the Elections Committee, Chenette said.The members of the Elections Committee, Katie Liubakka, head of the committee,  Anne Marie Wellman and Cecilia Smith, were in charge of running the election process.

“It got to the point where we realized that us being elected would just result in conflict,” Chenette said.

Members of ASNMU expressing animosity were of the minority, Chenette said.

“The representation of the elections committee at ASNMU was of a negative and elitist culture and that’s not okay,” Chenette said.

Liubakka’s responsibilities included looking over the elections packet, which every candidate must complete if they want to run, and presenting it to the general assembly. In addition, Liubakka and Smith created the election questions and moderated the debate. Wellman’s duties were to look over the elections packet and organize polling location, which did not come to fruition do to time constraints.

“When they join elections committee, it’s under the impression that they’re done,”

Ruiz said. “That’s to help make sure that they don’t have a horse in the race, so to say.”Pete-Dye was not present at the debate because he was attending a Student Association of Michigan conference for ASNMU at the time. Liubakka said  the debate questions they posed were created to be neutral and directed toward all the candidates. The North Wind requested a copy of the questions the Elections Committee asked and did not receive them as of press time.

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