Polls for 2015 Student Government Elections opened early Wednesday morning, with the majority of voters casting their votes online — primarily to vote for next year’s student body president and vice president.
With 1,510 of the 2,679 votes in its favor, the Kopp-Nelson ticket will hold office for the 2015-2016 school year.
Despite having multiple appeals filed against their campaign in regards to solicitation, juniors Matt Kopp and Taylor Nelson are focused on the win and moving forward.
“(Getting elected) was a thrilling experience,” Kopp said. “After you pour your heart into an effort for almost three months, having those efforts vindicated is a truly rewarding experience.
“Running was an incredible experience as well. Meeting hundreds, if not thousands of students, and sharing our vision for UND every day was a great way to learn about our own passion, as well as the passion of the students that we were running to represent.”
Nelson, Kopp’s running mate, said when she heard they won, it was one of the greatest moments of her life.
“Matt and I have dedicated so much of ourselves to this campaign since the very beginning,” Nelson said. “Knowing that the student body supports our passions and the ideas we have put forward is a great feeling.”
Kopp and Nelson, who campaigned for affordable tuition, said they plan to create what they’re going to call the Student Organization Leaders Committee, which will facilitate collaboration between organizations and student government.
“We think this will be conducive to improving organizations, student government and the campus as a whole,” Kopp said.
While Kopp and Nelson maintain that their campaign ran with the strictest of moral integrity, their opponents seem to feel otherwise.
The race for president and vice president was a close one with Kopp and Nelson beating out Muneeb Hyder and Paul Butler, who are responsible for some of the appeals, by 317 votes.
“In regards to the appeals filed against us, I can assure everybody Matt and I were nothing but loyal to the election code,” Nelson said. “We always instructed our volunteers to abide by the code whenever they participated in our campaign.
“Nobody was coerced into voting for us and we are happy that so many students wanted to support us by encouraging their friends to vote. It is disappointing that it has come to this, but I am confident that everything will be straightened out.”
According to an election official, a total of 23 appeals were filed in regards to the recent student government elections. As none of the appeals filed against agents of the Kopp-Nelson campaign are egregious, Kopp and Nelson are fully expected to take office next year, facing only the possibility of a monetary consequence if appeals against the campaign are justified.
Despite the bumpy aftermath of election day, the president-elect says he hopes Hyder and Butler feel the same regard for him and Nelson as they do for their opponents.
“I have nothing but respect for the campaign that my opponents ran, and I hope they feel the same way about us,” Kopp said. “We had our differences on some issues, but we always found a way to keep the conversations civil, and that’s the way politics should be.
Marie Monson is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]