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Opinion: Pettiness silenced students' voices in runoff election

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Edmon Low-8508.jpg

Edmon Low Library at sunset on Feb. 21, 2019. 

Yesterday, after a campaign filled with controversy, Kaitlyn Kirksey and Kristen Ball are Oklahoma State University’s new student body president and vice president.

This result came after accusations of breaking SGA bylaws from all three campaigns, Kirksey/Ball, Jake Swanson/Tanner Chancelor and Kayla Dunn/JT Gragg.

The original vote was thrown out after these accusations surfaced, and the vote was delayed a week. Details about the SGA supreme court hearings can be read here.

The SGA Supreme Court decided there would be a runoff election between the Kirksey/Ball and Dunn/Gragg campaigns.

The Dunn/Gragg campaign won the original vote with a total of 1,436 votes. Kirksey/Ball was in second with 1,010 votes and Swanson/Tanner was in third with 965 votes.

The people at OSU who voted already had their voices heard, yet pettiness in an election that is supposed to be for the benefit of the students silenced them.

The SGA Supreme Court decided the Dunn/Gragg team was not allowed to campaign in the week leading up to the runoff. The resulting runoff vote was 1,088 votes for Kirksey/Ball and 981 for Dunn/Gragg.

Only 107 votes decided the victor, as opposed to the overwhelming 426 votes that separated the first election.

Likewise, only 2,069 people voted in the runoff, whereas 3,412 voted in the first election.

It seems as if the only people this election benefited was the Kirksey/Ball campaign, not the students of OSU.

What got the Dunn/Gragg campaign in trouble? Passing out green balloons with QR codes attached that lead to the voting website.

A maximum of ten balloons were used for advertisement. They were not enticing people to vote for them. They were enticing people to vote in general. It could be argued that 3,412 people would not have voted if it wasn’t for the distribution of these balloons.

On the other hand, the Kirksey/Ball campaign was accused of using SGA resources for campaigning, a violation of bylaw 4.3.2. It seems like a much worse offense than passing out balloons.

Again, it seems like pettiness is the only thing keeping OSU’s students voices from being heard.

The ridiculousness of this whole election has done nothing to create support for SGA or its president/vice president duo. If anything, it makes the whole organization look foolish.

The SGA Supreme Court was also attempting to limit the voices of students who supported the Dunn/Gragg campaign; students who were not on the campaign team for Dunn/Gragg by DMing them on social media.

The voices of OSU’s students should not, cannot and will not be silenced.

If you would like to submit an opinion piece to the O'Colly, email