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Unofficial UND election results: Bachmeier wins student presidency

Cole Bachmeier and Erik Hanson.

The unofficial results of the UND student election have been tallied.

Barring any extenuating circumstances, the new president of the UND Student Government is Cole Bachmeier, who is joined by his vice president, Erik Hanson. The pair garnered 1,737 votes out of a total of 3,555 votes cast, surpassing the nearest runners-up—current UND Student Body Vice President Blake Andert and UND Student Senate member Nico Hanson—by a margin of 193 votes. The outgoing president of the student body is Brandon Beyer.

Bachmeier, a junior, said Thursday he believed the student government needed to "do a 180" in terms of its relationship to the student body.

"The big thing we're seeing on campus is that people don't know what student government does," he said. "Most students don't know it exists or what it can do for them."

To address that perceived lack of connection between the governing organization and the population it represents, Bachmeier said his campaign had run on a central theme of fighting for the voice of the student body. As part of that, he said he and Hanson had targeted their outreach to a wide variety of student groups in order to gauge the needs and concerns held on campus.

Both candidates have been involved with student government for three years. Bachmeier is the chief of staff for the student government's executive council. Hanson is the group's government affairs commissioner.

Moving forward, Bachmeier said the two were interested in continuing to build on "cross-collaboration" and relationships with student groups on campus, as well as with UND's administration and academic leaders.

Turnout was high for this year's student election. Cassie Gerhardt, a UND assistant dean who oversees student involvement, said the ballot featured at least one candidate for every office but two. Student body elections typically draw somewhere between 1,800 to 2,100 votes cast, Gerhardt said.

The results of the election will be made official at the April 26 meeting of the Student Senate. At least one contested position will be decided at that date, as a tie vote of 753-753 has been counted for the last of eight elected representatives of off-campus housing students.

Andrew Haffner

Andrew Haffner covers higher education and general assignment stories for the Grand Forks Herald. He attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he studied journalism, political science and international studies. He previously worked at the Dickinson Press.

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