It’s time to announce the results


Though the Election Rules Commission (ERC) will announce the “unofficial” results today at
1 p.m. in the Marshall Student Center Amphitheater, polls for online voting in the runoff student body presidential and senate elections closed Wednesday at 8 p.m.

When former Gov. Charlie Crist came to campus last week, after hearing about the delay between Thursday’s end of voting and Friday’s announcement of the general election results last week, he said “Don’t we have computers here?”

If the millions of votes for the most powerful people in the country can be tallied and announced immediately as polling stations close across four time zones, so should the online votes for just the few thousand students voting in USF’s student
body elections.

Maybe it is just a curse that the state has during voting – continually announcing its votes even later than West Coast states – but it shouldn’t take hours to announce something that is tallied by computers.

While the unofficial results will be announced at 1 p.m., the official results won’t be certified until, according to Student Government  (SG) statutes, Friday at 5 p.m. The statutes only give a vague definition for certification as the “process by which tentative election results are made official,” and that these certifications “include notice of any pending  (SG) Supreme Court cases involving the election. The results of the General and Run-Off Elections are not official until certified by the Election
Rules Commission.”

SG Advising, Training and Operations Advisor Jessica Morgan said the timeline for announcing unofficial results is up to the supervisor of elections. The last time results were announced the day polls closed was two years ago when former student body president Brian Goff was elected.

Sayf Hassouneh, the head of the ERC and supervisor of elections, said the biggest reason for the gap between polls closing and certification is to allow time for students to file grievances, which cannot be filed once results are certified.

Morgan said the time gap also gives candidates a break between campaigning and
the results.

The process seems unnecessarily lengthy and drawn out, and waiting for certification and delaying the results seems more like a useless bureaucratic procedure than anything else.

It could be said the delay and acceptance of last minute grievances is a possible protection to ensure fairness in the elections, say if a candidate coerced voters or bribed officials, but the reality of the matter is this delay and grievance process is mostly used for candidates and supporters to quibble over which flier or Facebook status didn’t have a link to SG’s voting website – a minor violation according to campaign rules – which has already caused more than half of the eight grievances in this year’s election process.

It is also understandable that ERC members want to double check for any computer glitches, which is always a possibility. But previous forms from the ERC that are rife with errors, such as on documents stating the ERC’s ruling on the first three grievances, make it dubious that the ERC will resolve any errors in an voting process of less than 10 percent of the students on campus, or less than 5,000 votes.

The most probable reason for this delay in voting is simply another part of the slow
bureaucracy that is SG.