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SG elections face, solve voting issues

In a Student Government (SG) election that has already exceeded last year’s number of votes, some students are experiencing problems at the polls.

SG graduate adviser Alissa Thomas said more than 4,100 students have voted in elections as of the close of polls Tuesday night in elections. Last year, the total voter turnout was 3,980 students.

While turnout was high, the process encountered difficulties during its first two days.

Poll workers reported that some students who logged in to vote were taken to a timeout error instead of the ballots they were trying to reach, Thomas said.

“The only way we know of problems is through our poll workers, and they’re really good at reporting if (voters) are running into problems,” she said. “As soon as someone says they have a problem, we do our best to make sure it’s addressed (the) right way.”

She said the SG Advising and Training Office immediately contacted its Votenet Solutions representative upon hearing of the problems. Votenet provides the eBallot software used to conduct SG elections. Thomas said Votenet informed her of the problem, but not what caused it and resolved the issue.

“It’s definitely possible that too many people logged in at once to cause the problem,” she said. “The voting system was never completely down, they were just down a server, so it was making things go a lot slower than normal.”

The problems occurred between 11 a.m. and noon Monday and Tuesday, SG adviser Gary Manka said.

“For the past two days, the server has been down for about a half an hour,” he said. “Within a half hour, we reported the system went down.”

Supervisor of Elections Andrew Uhlir said about 10 students have reported problems to poll workers. He said all the poll workers have been made aware of the technical difficulties.

“At my polling station, I had three,” he said. “(My station was) Cooper (Hall), but it wasn’t a location-specific error.”

If any students experience errors when voting, Uhlir said, they can go to the SG office, located in the Marshall Student Center (MSC), to vote.

This is not the first time SG elections have encountered problems with the voting system. In the 2009 elections, students were unable to vote off campus because their IP addresses were not recognized by the Votenet system. Last year, students who were registered in two different colleges were able to vote in the elections twice.

Senate President Pro Tempore Khalid Hassouneh said the contract with Votenet expired in December, but Manka decided there was not enough time to seriously entertain switching software providers.

Votenet representatives were not available for comment at the time of publication.

Voting reopens today at 7 a.m. Students can continue to vote through 7 tonight and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, when polls close for the last night of elections. An announcement party for the election results will be held Thursday at 8:30 p.m. in the MSC Amphitheater.