New voting methods have been introduced by North Dakota State’s student court to restrict voting error from students.
The new rules require voters to use an electronic ID to vote for a write-in candidate.
Thomas Fyffe, chief justice of the student court, said the new implications are expected to streamline the vote tallying process.
Fyffe added the move is to prevent students from voting more than once for the same person, to prevent random names from being submitted and to prevent instances like Professor X from being elected.
Professor X, a black cat rescued from the Fargo streets who is owned by NDSU students, received 50 write-in votes in the 2015 student body election. This is more votes received in the same election for off-campus senator than Mason Wenzel, current student body presidential candidate and student government executive commissioner of finance, received.
Professor X’s co-owner and spokesman Jacob Lynch told The Spectrum in 2016 the feline’s write-in campaign sought to increase voter participation in student body elections. In 2016, Professor X moved away from write-in candidacy to philanthropic work.
Professor X is not the first four-legged friend of the NDSU community who has had its name tossed in the ring to become a student senator.
On April 28, 1987, former Spectrum news editor Jeff Kolpack (who now covers Bison sports for Forum Communications) wrote an article saying if his dog, Sparky, were to gather 25 signatures from students he could run unopposed in the following day’s student senate election.
Sparky, like Professor X, was unable to be in student senate as he was not formally enrolled at NDSU.
“I’m thinking Sparky the Dog would have made a better senator and student body president than Jack Maughan,” Kolpack said.
Fyffe said the effect of voter turnout with regard to requiring an electronic ID was not considered when implemented.
Lynch was unavailable for comment by press time.