Earlier this week, the Senate conducted the elections originally held in late February. The elections were reheld in accordance with the ruling reached by the All-Campus Judicial Council invalidating the previous election’s results.
The primary reason for the ACJC’s ruling was that some students were unable to vote using the new online voting system. “After the last election, Steve Duslak and Information Technology Services contacted all of the people that had reported experiencing problems with the system and helped to sort out what these might have been,” ITS UNIX System Administrator Christina Plummer said. “We then ran a couple of test votes and had those people try out the system again.”
As a precautionary measure in case the online voting system did not work, the Election Committee provided another option. “There was one alternative voting method aside from the online system in this election, and that was by paper ballot,” Senate Election Committee Chair and senior Steve Duslak said. “While we considered using e-mail ballots, the head programmer, Christina Plummer, advised against it because of the ease by which false e-mails can be fabricated.”
Students could vote online and through paper ballots in Wilson Commons or from their own computer through the Hive’s Web site. The Elections Committee also created a “Frequently Asked Questions” Web site off of the main voting page. That page served as a resource for students having difficulties voting online who were not at the Wilson Commons computers.
For those students who wished to vote by paper ballot, the person staffing the voting computers first tried to walk them through the online procedure. This system was beneficial in two ways – first, students could learn how to vote online if he or she was having difficulty. Secondly, the Election Committee could observe what difficulties people encountered through the online voting system.
On Monday, people who had not yet created a NetID account reported problems with accessing the server. This issue was quickly resolved. Those students who were not able to register online voted through paper ballots. Overall, the election process went fairly smoothly. Voter turnout at the voting station in Wilson Commons was about the same as last time, according to Duszlak.
“It was pretty easy for me to vote,” freshman Mona Koda said.
“It only took a minute and someone was at the voting station in case I had a problem with the computers. The hardest part was just remembering my NetID information since there are so many different user names and passwords for the different servers on campus,” she added.
During this election, students were also able to write-in multiple candidates for each election category.
“In the past we were only able to accept one write-in for each election because there was no way to defend against voters writing in the same name or a variation of the same name multiple times in each election,” Duslak said.
“Because we now are able to track who an individual student has voted for, we can protect against abuses of the system. Any student attempting to cheat the system will be brought before ACJC by the Election Committee for voter fraud,” he said.
Election results are posted on the Hive’s Web site -www.sa.rochester.edu. Before results are official, the Election Committee and registrar must verify all paper ballots. Additionally, the committee must check with Plummer to verify that no student has voted multiple times.
After the results are official, the Senate can return to its normal business.
“I just hope that the elections run smoothly, without problems, and that we have a strong voter turnout,” Speaker of the Senate and Take Five Scholar Ashley Conner said before the recent results were counted.
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