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Published March 02, 2012, 10:11 PM

NDSU Students denied entry to District 45 GOP Convention

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - A group of college students is upset after not being allowed to take part in, or see, a district convention in Fargo. Party leaders refused to let several voters in to that delegate session Thursday night.

By: Travis Skonseng, WDAY

A group of college students is upset after not being allowed to take part in, or see, a district convention in Fargo. Party leaders refused to let several voters in to that delegate session Thursday night.

Party rules didn't allow anyone living outside District 45 to be there. Two people, including a candidate for state office, were denied access for that very reason, but some students, in that district, are outraged they didn't have the right to vote.

For Keenan Salveson, his first foray into politics has been problematic.

Keenan Salveson – NDSU Student: “In this being a public place, anybody should be allowed in there to at least listen.”

The NDSU freshman is one of several students, who wanted a lesson in politics, but was barred from the District 45 GOP convention.

Keenan Salveson: “The second time we just stood back after they had refused to let us go in and they still told us that we couldn't be in the room.”

Joshua Haugen – NDSU Student: “We had thought we'd be fine going in there showing our student ids and they didn't accept it. We needed actual proof that we lived on campus.”

The students even went online to prove to party leaders, they lived within the district.

Keenan Salveson: “I was assuming it was going to be a learning experience and it was.”

Chair John Trandem says the students had two hours to get proper proof of residency, but didn't. He says with about 40 people crammed in a small room, it would have been too hard to manage, if everyone was allowed in.

John Trandem – District 45 GOP Chair: “Because we would have had to keep track of identification of each and every person and we didn't know everyone there.”

But WDAY has uncovered emails sent to long-time district members. They urge party faithful to come to Thursday's vote to avoid a delegate takeover from groups with a short term agenda.

John Trandem: “There's no concern about Tea Partiers. I am one. The concern was that if anyone had any malicious intent to disrupt the process.”

Keenan Salveson: “It makes me want to put my voice out there, because every citizen is supposed to have that right.”

Forty delegates were elected there to the state convention. The district still needs to fill its 40 alternates, so those students still have the opportunity to become involved. This is a reminder, come Tuesday, to have proper ID and/or something showing your address like a bill statement.

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