Reasons for voting discrepancy unknown

Some students were unable to vote in last week’s Student Government (SG) Senate midterm election for reasons that will remain unknown.

SG adviser Gary Manka said Information Technology (IT) couldn’t look into the complaints that students could not acccess the online ballot and instead received an error message because the midterm election, which was held Oct. 12-13, has passed.

“I don’t think they are going to look into it,” he said. “The only way to actually find the issue is to actually navigate it at the time it was happening. So Votenet’s hands are tied because they couldn’t get a needed Net ID to surf the system when the problem was going on. Nothing can be done for this election.”

Votenet, the software company used during the election, also stalled the results of the election from being released on Oct. 13 through Oct. 19 to ensure that no students were able to vote twice.

Manka said students with double majors had their vote counted twice in the election because their Net ID is registered in two different colleges, leading the computer system to believe that they are two separate students.

Manka said only a minimal number of double votes – about four – were made.

This is not the first time SG has encountered problems with the online voting process. During the general election, students who were double majors also had their votes counted twice, delaying election results.

To vote in the election, students clicked on a photo ad on their Blackboard home page to access the online ballot. However, some students only received an error message.

Manka said a link directing students to the Votenet website will be featured on the ad for the spring SG general elections, allowing students who encountered problems to “bypass” the Blackboard link.

However, Manka said this option will not be available for next week’s election for senators from the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Medicine.

During the course of the election, two College of Arts and Sciences senatorial candidates dropped out of the race, requiring students to vote for two more senators in their place. Manka said the new numbers could not be updated on the ballot because the election was already set in motion.

The College of Medicine had electronic problems with candidates’ applications delaying their election as well.

The SG Supreme Court ruled to hold an expedited election to accommodate the change, which is “any elections held in the event that a Supreme Court ruling or other circumstances result in an election needing to be rescheduled,” according to SG statutes.

Lynn Kuznitz, the Supreme Court chief justice, said the justices considered the typo a “discrepancy.”

“It was a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court,” she said.

Manka said next week’s election will feature separate ballots for each college to ensure that students with a double major cannot vote twice. Students will now only be able to place one vote at a time in one college within their major, rather than having each vote count twice on the combined ballot.

Last year, 2,099 students voted in the midterm election, while, only 1,150 voted in this year’s election, excluding the College of Nursing and the College of Arts and Sciences.

Votenet CEO Michael Tuteur could not be reached for comment.